Length and cost of Zondo commission queried
Johannesburg - Following a high court ruling granting the Zondo commission an additional year to complete its work, questions have been raised on whether the commission is an ideal avenue for tackling the state capture issue.
The commission began hearing evidence in August 2018. Several key witnesses from state-owned enterprises and the government have appeared including former president Jacob Zuma.
The inquiry was given a wide scope to investigate state capture allegations with the proclamation that was issued by Zuma stating that it should investigate corruption in national, provincial, SOEs and municipalities.
Judge Wendy Hughes, who issued the order of extension, ordered that President Cyril Ramaphosa should amend the proclamation to allow for the SIU and the NPA to investigate the other cases of corruption contained in the proclamation. This would largely unburden the Zondo commission's work.
Two years later and the commission has cost taxpayers over R360 million, according to a parliamentary reply issued in September 2019.
One political analyst, Khaya Sithole, has questioned whether all this money has been worth it. He said the issue was whether the NPA could not have possibly done the work already being done by the state capture inquiry.
"One could ask, legitimately, what could have happened if he had taken that amount of money and redirected it to the NPA for instance, which still has to do the job in any case. The problem with the Zondo commission is that it is not going to supersede the role and responsibility of the NPA. The NPA still needs to take over these cases and decide whether to prosecute or not. So we are paying for double the cost for an exercise, while its intentions were good, it just doesn't seem like we have found the right model of how to run it effectively," Sithole said, on KayaFM talk on Wednesday.
Sithole explained that the inquiry has also been offering little hope for justice especially as there is a lack of clear guidelines on the legal teams work.
"The biggest weakness of the Zondo commission is the inability to tackle a particular road map that says over the next couple of weeks or months this is what we will be focusing on and then we will be done. It is opening a whole of avenues and they are discussing way too many things and nobody knows what they are going to be doing from one day to the next," he said.