Zondo wants new deadline for state capture report, Ramaphosa and others must still testify

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State Capture commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
State Capture commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24
  • Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said he would apply to the courts for an extension to compile the state capture.
  • An extension to September will allow oral evidence to be heard and concluded by the middle of July.
  • Witnesses including President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Gwede Mantashe must still conclude their oral evidence.

Chairperson of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, said the commission would apply to the courts for an extension to submit its report by September.

The previous deadline for the report was extended from end-March to end-June.

The commission started its hearings in 2018.

"Five or six" witnesses have indicated that they would not be able to testify at the commission within the remaining days of June, meaning the inquiry would not be able to finish oral evidence this month, Zondo said.

At the start of Thursday morning's hearing, Zondo told the commission that he would apply to the courts to allow for oral evidence to be heard and concluded by the middle of July and for the report to be compiled by August or September.

"We are going to be applying to the high court for more time so that we can complete the work of the commission properly. If the high court grants us an extension, we will be able to hear the evidence of those five or six witnesses in July along with the evidence of the president by 15 July. Once that is done, that should conclude oral evidence of this commission that started in 2018," said Zondo.

Zondo said when the commission applied for an extension from the end of March to the end of June, he envisaged that the commission could complete the hearing of oral evidence by the end of March and that April, May and June would be used for compiling the report.

"As it turns out we did not conclude oral evidence in March ... when one hears oral evidence in a forum like this there are lawyers that need to be accommodated within reasonable limits and one's assessment can never be 100% accurate.

"The assessment that was made was made in good faith, but it just didn't work out. The evidence that still needed to be heard beyond the end of March was very important evidence, including former execs of SOEs like Transnet and Eskom, former chair of the Denel board appointed in 2015, evidence relating to Parliamentary oversight and evidence from the ANC," said Zondo.

Zondo said witnesses that still needed to provide oral evidence included President Cyril Ramaphosa, former minister Malusi Gigaba and ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe.

"The president and the commission had previously and tentatively identified the 29 and 30 June as dates for the president to return to the commission to give oral evidence in his capacity as the ANC president and the president of South Africa," he said.

Zondo said the final report of the commission should be complete by the end of August, but September is being sought in case the compilation of the report is delayed.

He said the personnel at the commission worked very hard up to this point and that while public frustrations with the delays were understandable, he refused to conclude the commission "in an irresponsible manner".
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