Johannesburg - Outspoken former ANC caucus chairperson and MP Vytjie Mentor has called on South Africans to watch and follow the hearings of the Zondo Commission into state capture, which gets under way on Monday.
Mentor, who is testifying this month, said yesterday it was important for everyone to watch, monitor and follow the commission from its inception.
“This chapter of the commission is very important in putting our country on a new path away from the degeneration and chaos of the past 10 years. Let us join hands and together follow the commission.
“In this way we will be able to wrest our country from the abyss and out of the doldrums that it has been plunged into, while we looked on hopelessly,” Mentor added.
Her comments came on the eve of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo opening the proceedings in Parktown, Joburg, on Monday.
Commission spokesperson Mbuyiselo Stemela said Monday’s session, starting at 10am, would not feature any testimonies by witnesses.
Advocate Paul Pretorius was due to make an opening statement on behalf of the commission’s legal team, while advocate Thandi Norman was to give a presentation of the reports. The commission has 180 days within which to complete its work.
Stemela would not be drawn on what the presentation by Norman was about. “It is best to wait for her presentation and the public is welcome to attend; registration starts at 7.30am,” Stemela said.
He said the commission would start hearing the testimonies of the witnesses on Tuesday
“The hearing won’t start on Monday,” Stemela said, before declining to mention who was expected to testify on Tuesday.
The commission has named Mentor, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, and former Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) chief executive Themba Maseko as among those in the line-up of witnesses.
Also testifying will be National Treasury official Ndleleni Willie Mathebula and acting GCIS chief executive Phumla Williams.
Maseko tweeted on Friday that he was set to appear before the commission on August 31.
“It’s gonna be going down,” he said.
On Sunday, Stemela could not say how many witnesses had been invited to testify.
“The legal team is preparing a list of witnesses to be released once it has been finalised,” he said.
The commission previously said its legal team was consulting with witnesses.
Former president Jacob Zuma has apparently been invited to answer in person to allegations that he directly facilitated favours for the Guptas to help the family get government business.
The Sunday Times reported that Justice Zondo has written to Zuma, asking him to say whether he used information he came across as the head of state to enrich himself and the Guptas.
It was not known whether Zuma’s son Duduzane has been invited to respond to what some of the witnesses would say about him.
Duduzane has been fingered by Jonas, who claimed to have been offered a bribe of R600million by the Guptas to take the finance minister’s position in his (Duduzane’s) presence when the then finance minister was to be fired.
Ray Henning, spokesperson for Freedom for Duduzane, said he was unaware if the businessman had been invited to the commission.
He, however, said they were busy mobilising for Duduzane’s support in case he was invited.
“It’s not about Duduzane, but white monopoly capital trying to reach the former president through his family. In this case, it is through Duduzane,” Henning said.
“We are not saying he is right or wrong. We are trying to expose the attempts by white monopoly capital to divide black people,” he added.
The commission of inquiry was appointed by Zuma after he lost a court case to review the report on state capture by former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
Madonsela had in her remedial action ordered that Zuma establish a commission to be chaired by a judge appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
The commission is tasked to investigate all allegations of state capture and corruption in the public service.