The commission of inquiry into state capture heard two applications to postpone further testimonies by former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor.
The proceedings began with an application for the postponement of evidence by Mentor. Advocate Mahlape Sello — who is a member of the commission’s legal team — explained that despite being ready to testify on Friday as per the commission’s programme, there are three critical investigations that need to be completed based on Mentor’s initial evidence.
Sello emphasised that allowing the investigations to be completed thoroughly would allow Mentor a chance to respond to the findings — whether the findings corroborate or dispute evidence she has already given as well as afford her time to prepare for cross examination.
The findings are due to be finalised in two weeks, according to Sello.
“We are of the firm view that it is only fair that Ms Mentor be given an opportunity to deal with results of all investigations,” Sello said.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo — the commission’s chair — said it is important that the investigations be completed before Mentor takes the stand again because her allegations are very serious.
“I think it is important that issues that arise from her evidence are properly investigated. If her evidence is ultimately found to be true, it could have very serious consequences for implicated persons,” Zondo said.
Zondo ordered that Mentor’s testimony is deferred until November 30 2018.
The second application to postpone was presented by Nene’s legal representative, Advocate Adila Hassim.
Hassim revealed that Nene has suffered a fracture to his ankle and has been given strict instructions from his doctor to step away from all work duties until January 2019. Nene was subpoenaed to appear before the commission on Thursday but Hassim said he would only be able to do so starting from January 1 2019.
Though an official date was not set for Nene to appear before the commission again, Zondo granted the application and described the former finance minister as having been “very helpful” to the work of the commission.
“Nene has been very cooperative to the commission. There is no reason the request cannot be accommodated.”
The inquiry has adjourned for the week but will resume on Monday with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s highly-anticipated testimony. Gordhan had been due to testify this week but he requested a postponement. Another hearing that was set for October was also postponed.
Gordhan’s upcoming testimony caused a stir when his affidavit was leaked last week leading Zondo to warn the media that leaking and publishing submissions is in contravention of the commission’s regulations and can result in a fine or imprisonment of up to 12 months.