Union federation Cosatu on Thursday said it disagreed with the court decision to extend the Zondo commission’s tenure so that it can complete its work.
Cosatu held a conference earlier on Thursday to discuss the outcome of the central executive committee meeting which ran from February 24-26.
Earlier this week, the Pretoria High Court granted the commission an extension until March 31 next year.
This was the second extension after the first one was granted last year for the commission to continue its work until the end of this month.
“The central executive committee appreciates the work being done by the new administration to strengthen the law enforcement agencies and other judicial institutions,” Cosatu said.
“But the meeting expressed concern that there is little progress when it comes to prosecuting those who are implicated in corruption. “We disagree with the decision to extend the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and we demand action now,” read the statement.
Cosatu secretary-general Bheki Ntshalintshali, while not saying what would happen if the commission was not granted the extension, said this would delay justice from taking its course.
“The Zondo commission does not make a decision whether you are guilty or not. The commission cannot, therefore, sentence you. It can only say that you may be prosecuted,” he said. “Corruption cannot be justified, especially in cases where people have come to the Zondo commission and confirmed that they did something wrong for whatever reason.
“When people admit wrongdoing, they have to go to court, and it will be the court which has to decide,” said Ntshalintshali.
This is not the first time the union federation has opposed the extension for the Zondo commission’s tenure. Last year, Cosatu said it would appoint a legal team to follow the commission’s proceedings and advise it on which steps to take on those implicated.
Asked why Cosatu had not followed through with that plan, Ntshalintshali said they didn’t have the money.
“We did not pursue it any further. Our lawyers advised us it would be too expensive. It wasn’t affordable. We then opted for a case by case analysis. If one is implicated, we’ll follow up and find out if it’s the right accusation or not.”
Ntshalintshali added that despite these challenges, Cosatu welcomed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s decision to allocate R2.4 billion to the National Prosecuting Authority, the Special Investigating Unit and Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.
“This will enable the appointment of about 800 investigators and 277 prosecutors who will assist with, among other things, the clearing the backlog of cases such as those emanating from the Zondo commission,” said Mboweni during his budget speech on Wednesday.
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