Arms deal inquiry to reduce staff

The Seriti commission of inquiry will reduce its staff complement, it said on Thursday.

There were two main reasons for the move, spokesperson William Baloyi said.

"Firstly, the bulk of the work has been to work through the massive documentation received from the various state departments … This part of the work has been completed," he said.

The committee's work had shifted to the public hearings, and only a few legal professionals were needed to assist the evidence leaders.

"Secondly, there is a need to save costs in view of the budgetary constraints that the commission has to contend with," Baloyi said.

He said all the commission's employees were on contract and most of the contracts would expire at the end of this month or December.

Early notice
All affected staff members had been given early notice that their contracts might not be extended and that they would be paid in full up to the end of their contracts even if they were released early. 

Baloyi said the process had not been concluded, but about six employees would be affected.

He denied reports alleging that people were being dismissed because they did not subscribe to the so-called second agenda of the commission or its chairperson, Judge Willie Seriti.

Last month, it was reported that the commission had fired eight lawyers.

According to sources this was because they were not considered to be loyal to Seriti.

The commission is investigating allegations of corruption in South Africa's multibillion-rand arms deal. – Sapa

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