State capture inquiry on hold as Zondo now waits on Zuma

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is still waiting for the publication of regulations that will allow him to hire staff, and the terms of reference that govern a commission of inquiry into state capture, the head of that commission said on Tuesday.

But he has every confidence that President Jacob Zuma – who is both at the heart of allegations to be investigated and responsible for the regulations and terms of reference – will move swiftly on those, said commission chair Raymond Zondo.

“The Presidency I think is working on them,” said Zondo. “I think the terms of reference will be finalised without any undue delay.”

Zondo would not speculate on how quickly Zuma may move, or on what would happen if there were to be an undue delay, or if the terms of reference did not allow the commission to properly do its job.

“I can’t really say, because as I say I’ve taken the attitude that the terms of reference must be determined and fixed, and I’m not going to make any input as to how they should be. When they are finalised and brought to me I’ll look at them. If I have any concern about they allowing me to do my job properly, I can raise it then.”

Zondo said the allegations of state capture “go to the very foundations of our Constitutional democracy” and would require a staff with a wide range of skills and experience to properly investigate. He had some names in mind on who to hire, he said, but could not yet mention any names.

Asked how much money the commission would require, Zondo said he had not yet considered a budget, but was convinced Zuma would make available whatever resources were required.

The only area where Zondo expressed any reservation was the requirement, set by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela when she first instructed it be established, that the commission conclude its work within 180 days.

“180 days is not a long time; I’m not aware of any commission in the past that was able to do any serious investigation and finish it with 180 days, which is 6 months. Indeed we all know of commissions that took a number of years before they finalised their work, so that will have to be looked at.”

Once the commission is established it would be able to consider the deadline, Zondo said, with clear hints that it would have to be extended.

Zondo said he believed that nobody in government would not want to see allegations of state capture investigated. Later asked about the possibility of sabotage by those implicated, Zondo said he was “alive” to the possibility, and would deal with it once the commission was actually set up.

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Phillip De Wet
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