JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Tuesday held a media briefing to clarify and reveal further details of the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture.
The commission was announced on January 9, 2018 by President Jacob Zuma.
Justice Zondo's appointment as chair of the commission followed, as per the remedial recommendation of the former Public Protector's report, that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng appoint the chair of the commission.
Addressing members of the media, Zondo said he was aware of the issues around the scope of the Terms of Reference (TOR) but stressed that the law dictates that it is the President that must give the terms and the commission, and the commission can only begin its investigations once they have been received
Zondo said despite not having yet received the terms of reference from the President, he was confident that he would receive all the support needed from the Presidency.
Zondo said he held the belief that "everyone in government wants these allegations to be investigated".
The commission has 180 days to complete its invesgiations and release its finding. Zondo said he was not certain that this provided enough time, "I am not aware of any commission that that has done any serious investigation in just a short time. The Deputy Chief Justice said the stipulated time frame needed to be addressed, "we can't comprise the quality of the investigation." Zondo noted that other commissions of enquires typically exceed a year.
When asked how much the commission would cost the state, Zondo said that the overall cost could only be determined once the necessary appointments had been made and that his understanding, as per the the Public Protector's report, that there would be commitment from the Presidency to support the commission to do its job.
Addressing questions around whether he had reason to believe President Zuma was perhaps too conflicted to define the terms of reference, Zondo said," of course there may be concern in some quarters, but I'm ready to make key decisions to get the commission up and running."
Zondo said the allegations the commission had been tasked to investigate were of a very serious nature," the allegations are so serious they go to the very foundations of our constitutional democracy."
Zondo says he has no doubt that the Presidency understands the urgency of this matter.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE