Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said that not all corruption allegations, including law enforcement graft, would be dealt with in the final two instalments of the state capture report.
Zondo, who chaired the commission that conducted a three-and-a-half-year inquiry into allegations of state fraud and corruption, added that he was braced for court challenges to his findings.
These are likely to become a political minefield leading up to the ruling ANC’s December national conference.
Speaking on Wednesday during the handover ceremony at the Union Buildings in Tshwane, Gauteng, the chief justice, in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presence, said the widening of the terms of reference in 2018 by former president Jacob Zuma made an inquiry into all allegations impossible, without stretching it by at least another 10 years.
“The terms of reference of the commission were very wide. If we were going to investigate everything that fell into the terms of reference, we would take another 10 years,” Zondo said.
He added that the widening of the inquiry’s scope involved investigating municipalities, which fell outside the recommendations in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s 2016 State of Capture report that recommended the commission’s establishment.
Crucially, corruption in law enforcement agencies was not investigated because there was not enough time, said Zondo. Ramaphosa was aware of this, he added.
“We did commence investigations with what we called the law enforcement agencies. I had a team that was investigating that. After quite some time, it became clear to us that it would require a lot more time than we had thought to [properly investigate] such matters,” Zondo said.
“For example, when we are talking about a decision to prosecute or not prosecute, it is not always very easy to get evidence to show that, because you’ve got to leave room for the fact that the prosecutor can make that decision in good faith, but be wrong.”
On expected court challenges, Zondo said: “People have a right to go to court and challenge the report, and the commission will deal with those when they come.”