'We will not sit back and wait' - Zondo on State Capture Inquiry

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says they are not going to be "passive" on evidence and seeking out information for the judicial commission of inquiry into State Capture, saying it will be a "hands-on process".

"We are not going to sit back and wait, but investigators will go out in the field and gather evidence and meet people," Zondo said, speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon.

According to him they had identified investigators at the previous briefing in March that he indicated would begin the work, however, this did not happen.

Zondo said discussions about the investigators' work "took much longer than anticipated".  

"We wanted to make sure that whatever arrangements were made, we would have a certain level of confidentiality."

He said a high number of investigators with different skills and levels of expertise were identified and he remained confident that some of them had signed contracts and others would still do so.

Zondo said that there were six members of the core legal team. Three men and three women.

He said the legal team would be making plans to interview potential witnesses in the upcoming week.

Also read: SA may have lost R100bn or more to state capture - Gordhan

The judicial commission of inquiry was set up by former president Jacob Zuma after he was ordered by the high court to do so following the then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report, State of Capture, which was released in October 2016.

The report was the first part of an investigation into allegations that the Gupta family had a hand in some ministerial appointments and were benefiting financially from close associations with decision makers at government entities such as Eskom.

Zuma was implicated in some of the allegations.

Zondo said the legal team and the inquiry's investigations head and former Auditor-General Terrence Nombembe had been hard at work.

"The legal team has already started making arrangements for the interviewing of potential witnesses for the commission. In this regard they have already been in touch with lawyers who represent certain people."

He said Nombembe had meetings with various government departments including Justice, National Treasury and Public Enterprises to ensure they get proper cooperation.

In March, the EFF objected Nombembe's appointment. It's spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said it was based on the links he had to several key individuals who were alleged to have played a role in state capture. Zondo dismissed their objection.

On Thursday, he reiterated that 180 days was not enough to complete the commission's work.

"There is simply no way that this massive work of this commission could be done in 180 days. There is no way it can be enough for us."

The first hearings into state capture by a judicial commission of inquiry will be in August.

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