Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Thursday said the state capture commission would continue with or without another appearance by former President Jacob Zuma, or members of the Gupta family.
“Whether or not the commission of inquiry into state capture ends up hearing from former president Jacob Zuma or members of the Gupta family implicated in the evidence of witnesses who have appeared before it, the show will go on and it will conclude its work without their input,” he said.
Zondo was providing the media with an update on the commission’s application to the Gauteng High Court for a further extension of its lifespan, in Johannesburg.
The current sitting ends late February, with an application for extension expected to be heard on February 11 at the Pretoria High Court.
Zondo also said the deadline for opposing the application had passed, and to his knowledge, the court had not received a single one.
If extended, the commission would continue to hear evidence until year end; if not granted, the commission would be unable to make findings.
Since inception in 2018, the commission has heard evidence from over 150 witnesses, with over 27,000 pages of transcripts filed.
Once Zondo’s findings have been submitted to president Cyril Ramaphosa, it will be the president’s prerogative to decide if the full report is made public or a redacted version is released.
Zondo said the credibility of the commission remained intact, with his legal and investigation teams working hard. “They are not perfect, nobody is perfect, I’m not perfect, but they are very dedicated.”
Refusing to be drawn on his views for the reasons forwarded by former president Jacob Zuma over his non-availability to give evidence, and objecting to a recent application to summons him, Zondo said he was not in a position to comment.
“It would be important for the commission to get what he knows, but if ultimately he doesn’t appear, the commission would wrap-up its work on the basis of what other witnesses have said.
Last year, Justice minister Ronald Lamola said plans to extradite the Gupta brothers were being put in place.
“From the side of the commission,” said Zondo, “if they are brought back, it will look at what can be done.”
Established in early 2018, the inquiry was initially meant to last for six months, as per the recommendations of former public protector Thuli Madonsela, but Zondo applied for an extension of another year.
His motivation at the time, he said, was based on the scope of the terms of reference and the issues the commission was tasked with probing.
Since the public hearings began in August 2018, however, Zondo’s view of the scope of work his team has to undertake has changed significantly.
“Corruption is very deep in our society, there is a lot of corruption, even with what the commission has seen, it is the tip of the iceberg.”
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Source: African News Agency