Zondo appeals to former and current DGs to come forward, as Fuzile wraps up state capture testimony

2018-11-22 21:50
Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alon Skuy/Gallo)

Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alon Skuy/Gallo)

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ANALYSIS | Ferial Haffajee and Max du Preez on Zondo commission, the EFF and how it all fits together

2018-11-21 13:24

Watch live as News24's Pieter du Toit chats to Fin24 contributing editor Ferial Haffajee and political commentator Max du Preez live outside the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.WATCH

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has appealed to former and current directors general (DG) to come forward to the commission of inquiry into state capture to give evidence of manipulation in government departments.

Zondo was wrapping after two days of evidence by former Treasury DG and now Standard Bank SA CEO Lungisa Fuzile who, for the first time, provided evidence of how the Gupta family's patronage network deployed civil servants and advisors into the state.

Fuzile is the second DG to give evidence of state capture; the first was Themba Maseko of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS),who told how the Gupta family had tried to bully him into diverting the state's advertising budget to their newspaper and television station.

"I have specifically appealed to current and former DGs to come forward and give the commission evidence about what they knew," said Zondo.

He added that the commission wanted to probe trends in the governing party and in the state which had given rise to state capture. 

"When did the governing party realise there was state capture and what did they do about it? The same goes for the executive. To the extent they may not have done what they ought to have done, is it because there was an environment or framework that made it difficult for people to do what they were supposed to do and if so, what was that environment?" Zondo asked.

He added that "we should not have this kind of environment or framework that will facilitate another state capture in future. We need people in the governing party and executive and outside of that, people who observed things to come forward. This environment provided fertile ground for state capture and it needs to be changed."

READ: Fuzile has Judge Zondo laughing at state capture commission

As he concluded two days of testimony, Fuzile said that it had become clear to him that there was a mission, often from the "highest office" (the Presidency) to attack or take over the Treasury.

When the shortest-lived finance minister in South Africa's history, Des van Rooyen, had been inaugurated, Fuzile was told by deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas that the Guptas wanted four officials out of the Treasury, including himself and deputy directors general Ismail Momoniat, Andrew Donaldson and Kenneth Brown, who was the chief procurement officer.

In his testimony, Fuzile said that Van Rooyen's advisors, Gupta-appointees, had emailed confidential documents out of the Treasury within minutes of receiving them.

"What enabled us to weather the storm, the negative stuff buffeting us even by the highest office is that we were led by people who hold our Constitution very dearly and hold all the laws of the country (dearly).

"I was very proud to work with two people – [former finance minister Pravin] Gordhan and Jonas. These were people who never sought to do anything themselves or ever asked us to do things aimed at helping them or people connected to them. I was never faced with a minister or deputy minister who was trying to do anything incongruent with the law," said Fuzile.

"Anyone who finds themselves in a position like that of a DG, if you know the rules, the law, the first time that a person asks you to do something illegal, let them know and know in no uncertain terms where you stand. Once it is illegal or not in the national interest, it is off the table," said Fuzile.

Civil servants like Fuzile and others at National Treasury are credited with holding the Gupta-Zuma network at bay and by insisting on the rule of law, they managed to stop deals like nuclear power station procurement which was very likely budget busting.

Read more on:    raymond zondo  |  lungisa fuzile

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