President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to testify at the Zondo commission next year. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to testify at the Zondo commission next year. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

President Cyril Ramaphosa to take the hot seat at Zondo commission

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Dec 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, head of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, will next year have his chance to grill President Cyril Ramaphosa over allegations of corruption.

Justice Zondo confirmed that the governing party’s president would take to the stand on a date still to be decided.

The inquiry is also expected to hear evidence from the ANC and Parliament over its oversight role regarding allegations of corruption and state capture.

Zondo said the issue of oversight was a crucial component of the inquiry's work and that, as part of the recommendations of the final report, issues such as oversight would be emphasised.

"I think if we are to make a serious dent on corruption in this country, it’s going to be important that we have a very good dispensation on the protection of whistle-blowers.

"It will be very important that we look at the issue of Parliamentary oversight to ensure that their oversight over the executive can ensure that corruption is brought to book and presented through oversight powers," Justice Zondo said yesterday (Monday) during a media briefing, which highlighted the work done by the commission over the past two years.

The commission started hearing oral evidence related to state capture in August 2018.

An extension of hearings was granted to commission by the high court until March next year (2021).

However, Justice Zondo said the commission would again approach the high court for another extension.

He said the lockdown had disrupted the commission's work for three months and had delayed efforts to end hearing oral evidence by the end of this month (December).

If the court grants the extension it would only be from April to June. Those months would be used for compiling a report, the commission chairperson said.

The inquiry has heard extensive evidence so far covering multiple work streams, which have included Eskom, Denel, Transnet, law enforcement agencies and the public broadcaster.

The commission has heard oral evidence from 278 witnesses. The transcript of evidence is more than 51 000 pages and the affidavits and exhibits submitted amount to 59 109.

The inquiry has heard evidence over 323 days and 2 300 rule 33 notices have been issued.

Zondo said only a few matters remain in several work streams.

He emphasised that the inquiry's final report would be credible even without the Guptas' testimony.

The family fled South Africa before the inquiry began its hearings.

Zondo reiterated his stance that former president Jacob Zuma was a critical witness and had to be asked certain questions regarding the allegations of state capture which took place while he was the head of State.

Zuma is expected to appear at the inquiry in the next month (January).

The chairperson said he was disappointed at the number of Cabinet ministers, former and current, who had failed to come forward and provide their evidence of corruption to the commission.

"We would have expected more ministers to come forward. The numbers of those who have come forward is very small. Many have not come forward on their own. I am not very hopeful because they have had about two-and-a-half years to come forward," Justice Zondo said.

On the costs accumulated by the inquiry, he said the commission had spent close to R800 million so far.

He said these costs should be looked at in context, especially because of the extensive investigative work conducted and the multiple work streams the inquiry had to investigate.

Politiccal Bureau

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