Johannesburg - The six-month Zondo inquiry into State Capture could cost South Africans around R20 million, but should the inquiry run longer than that, expect that figure to increase rapidly.
Although it is difficult to put an exact figure to what such an inquiry could cost, if the Arms Deal inquiry is anything to go by, the figures are enough to shock any taxpayer.
South Africa’s Seriti Commission of Inquiry, which was set up to investigate allegations of corruption and bribery in the 1999 arms-procurement deal, cost taxpayers almost R140 million.
The commission was established in late 2011 and completed its public hearings and other processes in June 2015.
Former Public Protector and author of the State Capture report, Advocate Thuli Madonsela said that everything from pens and printer ink to security and salaries needed to be taken into account.
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Speaking to Independent Media on Wednesday, Madonsela briefly broke-down the expenses linked to such an inquiry.
“In order for this inquiry to be independent, it obviously cannot be linked to anyone or any business. One would need to first rent office space for the period in which the inquiry is expected to be conducted,” she said.
Once the space was acquired, computers, telephones, internet connection and all other infrastructure needed to be installed.
“Believe it or not but a printer and ink are so important. There will be lots of copies that will be made of every document or page that comes through that office,” she said.
Salaries and allowances for staff and those seconded to the investigation would have to be agreed on. She said that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo would not be paid as he already receives a salary and has a vehicle from the state to transport him around.
But, vehicles would have to be acquired for staff to be transported to the various places they will be visiting.
Madonsela said another high-cost factor was outsourcing the forensic work.
“Forensic investigators would need to triangulate computers and cellphones. Then there are data miners that would be needed to sift through the data found on these devices,” she said.
Importantly, Madonsela said, security was also a much-needed tool to ensure that the findings, equipment and documentation was kept safe throughout the inquiry.