A tale of two very different commissions

2012-06-16 09:36

Eight months ago, in October 2011, President Jacob Zuma announced the establishment of two commissions of inquiry.

The Seriti Commission was tasked to investigate fraud and corruption in South ­Africa’s R70-billion arms deal.

Judge Willie Seriti and his team of advocates and lawyers were given two years to complete their work.

The Moloi Commission was asked to investigate the police-leasing scandal involving General Bheki Cele. After some initial hiccups, the Moloi inquiry got under way.

It asked for submissions from the police, public works, banks and other players in the incredibly contentious leasing business.

Moloi and his panel of legal minds studied the submissions they received, scheduled public ­hearings and finished in April.

Two weeks ago, Judge Moloi handed his final report to Zuma.

This week Zuma used the report to fire Cele, with whom he reportedly fell out because of the president’s belief that Cele was part of a plot to unseat him at Mangaung.

The Seriti Commission is moving at the speed of a battered skorokoro.

Despite the fact that this commission has much more paperwork to go through, it is still only receiving submissions.

This week Seriti appointed an entirely new ­panel of advocates to assist him after complaints were received against the previous team months after their names were publicly announced.

The commission’s secretary recently died and was replaced by a human resources specialist from the justice department.

This was despite the fact that Minister Jeff Radebe’s ­department was central to the stifling of the ­Scorpions’ probe into the arms deal through the delay of requests for mutual legal assistance and travel requests.

A number of ANC politicians – Zuma included – and party benefactors are implicated in the arms-deal scandal. It will not be in their interests to have to explain French faxes, meetings in Paris and Swiss bank accounts in an election year.

Further delays and disruptions will not challenge the widely held belief that this commission is nothing more than a face-saving stunt.

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