CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa's office said on Friday he has amended the rules of the commission of inquiry into state capture to make testimony before it admissible in criminal proceedings, with the exception of where a witness may incriminate him or herself.
The amendment to regulation 8(2) of the inquiry was made following submissions by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Afriforum which suggested that it may have undermined efforts to prosecute people implicated in crimes.
"On the basis of legal advice, the President has amended regulation 8(2) to limit the inadmissibility of such evidence to circumstances where a witness may incriminate themselves," the presidency said.
Regulation 8(2) now reads: “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 amendment was published in the Government Gazette on Friday.
Afriforum threatened to approach the Constitutional Court to challenge regulation 8 after then president Jacob Zuma signed the rules of the inquiry into force shortly before he resigned in February.
The State Capture Inquiry is expected to start proceedings sometime this year after it was established by former president Jacob Zuma.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo will chair the inquiry and has already appointed legal representatives to assist him in during the inquiry.
The inquiry is expected to probe allegations of state capture by the notorious Gupta family involving various government departments and state-owned entities.
Politics Hub and ANA