Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency(ANA).
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency(ANA).

Commission ’did what it had to do’, says Zondo reacting to Zuma Concourt ruling

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Jun 30, 2021

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Johannesburg - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling that found former president Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court, saying that the state capture commission “did what it had to do” by approaching the highest court in the land.

In a two-hour press briefing, chairperson of the commission, Justice Zondo, said the commission was nearing its conclusion since it started hearing evidence related to state capture in August 2018.

Confirming that the commission has spent almost R1 billion to conduct its work, the commission heard 418 days of oral evidence, recorded over 71 000 pages of transcripts and interacted with about 339 witnesses to date.

Offering his remarks on the Concourt ruling, Zondo said the ruling was of great importance to South Africa and vindicated the rule of law and supremacy of the country’s Constitution.

“We have seen, once again, the judiciary stepping forward and doing what the Constitution expects it to do.

“One wishes it had never become necessary to reach this point, and it is important to remind everybody that the commission was tasked with investigating the allegations of state capture. It heard evidence that various people, including Jacob Zuma, may have been involved in such,” Zondo said.

He said it was the duty of the commission to insist Zuma presented himself to testify.

“We did not just rush to issue a summons or rush to court. The commission did what it had to do when it became quite clear that Mr Zuma was not going to cooperate,” he said.

“Now, the judiciary has done its part.”

Zuma had failed to comply with a Concourt order which had directed the former president to appear before the commission, give evidence and declared that he does not have a right to remain silent.

Zuma failed to appear before the state capture inquiry, forcing the commission to approach the Constitutional Court on an urgent basis in March.

Acting deputy chief justice Sisi Khampepe’s judgment was scathing on Zuma for failing to uphold the Constitution and sentenced him to 15 months imprisonment on Tuesday.

Zondo said he noted that Zuma said the commission should draw whatever conclusions for his refusal to appear and give evidence, “so we will do that”.

He told the media that the commission would not provide a provisional report but only a final report with recommendations.

He also indicated that while the Guptas have not appeared before the commission and will not do so in the near future, they have submitted some affidavits in response to allegations made against them by some of the witnesses.

This, he said, was submitted at the end of last year and some early this year.

Justice Zondo added that despite their appearance before the commission and Zuma’s limited oral evidence, he was satisfied that the commission would make clear findings.

“All the allegations made by witnesses were sent to (Zuma), but he chose to keep quiet. He chose not to deny the allegations and chose not to apply for leave to cross-examine those witnesses.

“There will always be the part of Jacob Zuma choosing not to come and give full evidence, but I am not sure how much help he would be if he was compelled to come,” Zondo said.

He also assured that the commission’s staff who were not paid, had been paid up until March, with a few payments outstanding. He said the remaining salary payments would be sorted out.

On the flack that the commission received for spending close to a billion rand on its work, Zondo said that it would also be fair to take into account that through the efforts of their work, no less than R864m had been paid to state-owned entities by McKinsey.

“The importance of the work by the commission cannot be measured in Rands and cents. It’s about strengthening our democracy and accountability.

“The amount has been used reasonably and for important and necessary work.” he said.

Political Bureau

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