A ’plot to kill’ and tough calls on cross examination bids: Here’s what happened at the Zondo Commission this week
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The state capture inquiry may be granted another three-month extension to complete its work and its chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo had strong words for the nay-sayers who have grown impatient.
He said that while he understood some within the public grew impatient with the Commission to complete its work, he would not end the Commission in an irresponsible manner just to please them.
Former minister Malusi Gigaba claimed that he approached the police after he received a text message with information that Mngoma was planning to have him killed.
Gigaba continued to bash his estranged wife Norma Mngoma’s character as he claimed she loved money.
He said she even demanded to know what he planned to do with his ministerial pension payout.
Gigaba claimed Mngoma was “angry” because he told her that he invested the money for his future and used some for legal fees.
He also accused Mngoma of testifying at the Commission out of “malice and bitterness” because she could not get a hefty divorce settlement.
He also told the Zondo Commission that he did not drive around Johannesburg with bags of cash in his boot given to him by the Guptas as alleged by one of his protectors.
Applications for cross-examination
After halting proceedings for a number of days to finalize paperwork and reports, the Commission resumed on Tuesday to hear applications for leave for cross-examination.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said since time was running out, he has decided that he would not make findings where evidence is one-sided or he will refer incomplete work to other law enforcement agencies.
Werksmans and Montana
On Tuesday, Werksmans Attorneys decided to withdraw its bid to question former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana.
Werksmans Attorneys said they were satisfied to rely on two affidavits filed which include Montana allegations and therefore withdrew their application to cross-examine Montana.
They also believe Montana failed to produce evidence for the "injurious attacks".
Montana, who appeared in person before the Commission, made known his disappointment for not being notified that the application to cross-examine him was withdrawn. He said he made the trip to the Commission despite having a family bereavement.
Addressing Zondo, outspoken Montana said that he was glad Werksmans withdrew their application to cross-examine him as "their contracts were all irregular and unlawful".
Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s application to cross-examine former CEO Lulama Mokhobo and former Communications Minister Yunus Carrim - were also dismissed. Zondo said it was not in the interest of justice to grant him leave to cross-examine Mokhobo and Carrim.
Motsoeneng was however allowed to submit a written affidavit.
Afriforum and President Ramaphosa
Zondo also dismissed lobby group Afriforum's attempt to cross-examine President Cyril Ramaphosa.
He said that in order for a person to apply for leave to cross-examine someone, that person should have been implicated by the other party. Zondo said he did not recall Afriforum being implicated by President Ramaphosa.
McBride, Booysen and others
Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) boss Robert McBride and former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Major General Johan Booysen will no longer face cross-examination at the state capture proceedings.
Instead, those who applied to cross-examine the duo would also make written submissions of their versions of events.
Legal representatives of those implicated by McBride and Booysen, including Advocate Anthony Mosing, Advocate Sello Maema and Advocate Andrew Chauke made a joint submission to rather submit a written summary of their versions instead of cross-examining McBride and Booysen.
They submitted that issues raised by McBride and Booysen were intertwined with other issues raised by other witnesses and cross-examination of the two alone “would not serve any purpose”.
The legal teams said they should be able to summarize the “critical versions” of their clients’ testimonies and it should be read out on the designated days at the end of June.
Cross-examination of McBride and Booysen was set down for June 25 and 28 respectively.
Former Transnet chief financial officer Anoj Singh took the stand for the day to conclude his evidence.
Singh denied allegations that he leaked and e-mailed sensitive documents to consultancy firm Trillian which belonged to Gupta associate Salim Essa.
He also denied that he took part in arranging meetings between Essa and consultancy firm McKinsey. Although he was shown an email in which he confirmed a meeting of December 2012, Singh said he did not recall attending that meeting.
On his final day at the Commission, Singh faced questions from evidence-leader Advocate Anton Myburgh on email exchanges between Gupta-linked Regiments and McKinsey regarding locomotive contracts. In the emails, co-owner of Regiments Niven Pillay and Janine Kamaar, the transformation manager at McKinsey discussed contract values and quoted from memos set from Singh to his then-boss, Brain Molefe.
Singh said he had “no idea” how Regiments came in possession of these company memos.