Johannesburg - As the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture is set to start its work, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has handed over crucial documents related to the state capture investigation to the commission.
The public protector met with Commission Chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo last week to discuss records and information that have been collected by her office.
The records handed over to Zondo include documentary evidence, transcriptions of meetings, interviews that have been packed into 110 files and 17 boxes that related to the office’s investigation into state capture.
In 2016 former public protector Thuli Madonsela released the State of Capture report that implicated members of the controversial Gupta family in corrupt activities with government officials and heads of State Owned Enterprises.
Some of those implicated included former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane.
The report also documented allegations by former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas, who alleged that he was offered a R500 million bribe by the Gupta family if he agreed to take up the position of finance minister.
Madonsela released preliminary findings and recommended that a commission of inquiry be appointed to probe allegations contained in the report.
The report should be used as a guideline for the commission, Madonsela further recommended.
It took over a year for Zuma to establish the commission, as he made attempts to review the State of Capture report.
Zuma challenged the former public protector on her recommendation that the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng be the one to appoint the judge to lead the commission.
Zondo was eventually hired as the head of the inquiry by Zuma following Mogoeng’s recommendation.
Regulations that will govern the inquiry have been released and Zondo has already appointed crucial individuals to assist him during the inquiry.
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa made changes to the regulations that will govern the inquiry.
Ramaphosa made changes to regulation 8 (2) that deals with the admissibility in possible criminal proceedings of evidence that may be presented to the commission.
The regulation previously stated the limitation of evidence presented to the inquiry where a witness may incriminate themselves. Meaning evidence given at the inquiry may not be used at a criminal trial
“Regulation 8(2) has been replaced in its entirety with the following: A self-incriminating answer or a statement given by a witness before the Commission shall not be admissible as evidence against that person in any criminal proceedings brought against that person instituted in any court, except in criminal proceedings where the person concerned is charged with an offence in terms of section 6 of the Commissions Act, 1947 (Act No. 8 of 1947).”
The president made the changes following a request by two groups that had concerns that regulation would hamper the prosecution of individuals implicated in criminal activity.