State Capture Inquiry granted final extension until March 2021
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria also reduced the scope of the commission, granting it permission to only investigate state capture complaints directed by the former public protector, advocate Thuli Madonsela.
The ruling by Judge Wendy Hughes further ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to amend the proclamation signed by former president Jacob Zuma in January 2018, which ordered Judge Zondo to investigate all corruption cases in national, provincial government and all state-owned enterprises including more than 260 municipalities.
Judge Hughes said Ramaphosa must make these amendments to allow the Hawks, SIU and NPA to investigate “other general corruption cases” which were initially included in the work of the Zondo Commission by Zuma.
Judge Hughes made these rulings after Judge Zondo had submitted, in his application for a 10-month extension to complete his work, that Zuma’s proclamation had widened the scope of the commission of the inquiry.
Judge Zondo said if Zuma’s proclamation was followed to the letter it meant the commission would only be able to complete its work after four to six years.
Judge Zondo said he would ask Ramaphosa to refer other “general corruption matters” to the law enforcement agencies to investigate.
Supporting his application for an extension of 10 months, Judge Zondo said there was a second phase of investigations that was outstanding regarding Eskom, SAA, SABC, Transnet and Denel.
He also said the commission needed to hear all evidence relating to allegations of corruption, fraud and other irregularities at Prasa.
“No fewer than 10 witnesses will be heard in relation to Prasa. That is leaving out time that may be required for cross-examination should I grant some of the implicated persons leave to cross-examine witnesses who implicate them,” Judge Zondo said.
He also said he is expecting to hear evidence of 15 witnesses related to acts of corruption, fraud, improper conduct and irregularities in government projects and tenders in the Free State Province - including government departments.
In her judgment, Judge Hughes said: “In my view, further extensions would not be warranted on the applicant’s (Judge Zondo’s) version. The interest of justice dictates finality be attained with findings, recommendations and a report of the commission.”