The Zondo commission is set to turn its sights on Parliament as it wants to investigate whether the national legislature sponsored or helped state capture and corruption in its oversight function.
On Monday, commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo revealed that the inquiry was in the process of setting up a special task team to probe the role of the legislature over the years when allegations of state capture emerged.
Justice Zondo was speaking during the testimony of SA Reserve Bank head of financial surveillance Elijah Mazibuko, who testified about how law enforcement agencies sat on several reports on exchange control contraventions, some by Gupta-linked companies, with Parliament doing little to direct them to act.
Mazibuko said the central bank had repeatedly told Parliament during its appearance at portfolio committee meetings that it was sitting with 64 cases to date relating to illicit financial flows.
Justice Zondo said he was concerned by the apparent lack of effectiveness of Parliament.
“One of the things I am going to do is establish a special task team to look at how Parliament exercised oversight over the years in regard to issues of state capture and corruption. It may well be that, as I have said a few times since last year, if Parliament had played its oversight role, some of the challenges may have been dealt with early,” he said.
Justice Zondo said the special probe would focus on the nature of the failures of portfolio committees to discharge their duties in order to rectify them.
“One would have to look at whether or not there are capacity problems with portfolio committees or whether there were elements of state capture within portfolio committees themselves. I’ve already had evidence of some witnesses who were in Parliament at some stages who said ‘when I was raising this I was told to take it easy’ or something like that. So we need to look at those things,” he said.
Last week Mazibuko told the commission how hundreds of millions of rand was paid to Gupta-linked Homix by Transnet with no apparent legitimate services rendered.
He also testified on irregular foreign exchange transactions effected by Homix, adding that the company had effected 16 cross-border foreign exchange transactions with an aggregate value of some R51.8m, which triggered an investigation by SARB.
On Monday he said most of the money went to the Gupta-linked Morningstar International, which was registered in Hong Kong.
“The money that flew, the R51.8m in 16 transactions 14 was supposed to go to Morning Star and two was supposed to go to YKA International,” Mazibuko said.
He said there was no indication that the companies were legitimately engaged in business, adding that they had little or no online presence.
“For someone to get so much money so quickly and when you get there even now you can do the search, there is so little presence for these companies.
“It seems like they were registered at that particular time and taking off after the money has gone through,” he said.
Justice Zondo expressed concern that the police did not take up the case after it was reported by the SARB.
“I should be concerned about that because one of the allegations that are made in relation to state capture is that law enforcement agencies have also been captured and cases that they should have investigated were not investigated because of corruption,” he said.