Justice Zondo granted three-month extension to complete commission’s work
Johannesburg - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture has been granted another extension to complete its work by June this year.
This is according to an order issued in the North Gauteng High Court Pretoria, on Tuesday following a formal application made by Justice Zondo in January.
In his application, Justice Zondo argued that when President Cyril Ramaphosa’s put the country under a national lockdown Level 5, his commission’s work was severely hampered.
He said due to the Level 5 national lockdown, the commission was not allowed to hold public hearings from March 2020 to May 2020 and, as a result of logistical arrangements that had to be made before the public hearings could resume, the commission could not hold public hearings in June 2020.
“The investigators were generally not able to travel across provincial borders to seek out and consult with potential witnesses,” Justice Zondo said.
The extension was granted until June 30 after none of the parties including Ramaphosa, EFF and Public Protector and others opposed it.
Ramaphosa is now expected to amend the proclamation and to set a date for Justice Zondo to submit his final report.
This was the third extension granted since the commission was founded in 2018 following a proclamation issued by the then-president Jacob Zuma.
In his second application, which was coincidentally also issued during the same period last year, Zondo cited different reasons for his application.
Judge Zondo had submitted, in his application for a 10-month extension to complete his work until March 2021, 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.
He also cited various matters to be heard. The then Judge Wendy Hughes issued a final extension until March 2021 – but the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic affected Zondo’s work which prompted the latest ruling in his favour.