For the first time since it was established in 2018 to probe allegations of state capture, the Zondo Commission will in the upcoming weeks be hearing testimony recounting the direct impact to individuals lives that has been caused by the plunder of state coffer.
Of particular focus will be the mass looting that took place at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and how this negatively disrupted the lives of commuters who rely on the rail service.
Given the time constraints on the commission to finish its probe, citizens will not personally make their oral submissions.
Instead, submissions will be made by Zackie Achmat, UnitedBehind activist, whose organisation in collaboration with the Ahmed Kathrada foundation, has been at the forefront of exposing not only the corruption that festered at Prasa under the former president Jacob Zuma-led administration, but also the adverse effects it had on ordinary citizens’ lives.
Zondo commission spokesperson Mbuyiselo Stemele was not readily available for comment on when the submissions would be made by Achmat.
While a date for submissions is still yet to be finalised before the Zondo Commission, the civil society organisation is planning to host its own People’s Hearing, where the affected individuals can share their lived experiences on how the mass fraud and corruption at Prasa has greatly disadvantaged them.
On Thursday, UnitedBehind, in collaboration with the Ahmed Kathrada foundation, hosted an online briefing where the effect of corruption at Prasa and some of their effects on commuters’ lives were discussed.
This includes the suspension of train services to some areas in the Western Cape and Gauteng as well as the complete disregard for community centered safety plans by Prasa who – according to UnitedBehind – has placed its focus on protecting its infrastructure and not the commuters.
In 2017 UnitedBehind along with other civil society organisations mobilised public outrage that effectively led to the removal of Jacob Zuma whom the organisation “regarded as an agent of corruption”.
In 2017 the organisation collaboratively with other like minded organizations marched to Parliament after noting after noting the Supreme Court had initiated charges against Zuma but the National Prosecuting Authority was not prosecuting him. Their consorted efforts led to the pressure that eventually resulted in the recalling of Zuma by the ANC.