Zondo requests three more months to finish work, but won’t be calling witnesses
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Johannesburg - The Zondo commission, which is tasked with probing allegations of state capture during the Zuma presidency, wants three more months to complete its work.
The commission said it would require the extra months to conclude the report it was due to hand to President Cyril Ramaphosa next month.
However, the extension would give it time to conclude the report and hand it over by December 31.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, filed papers in the North Gauteng High Court to seek an extension.
The term of the commission, which started its work in early 2018, is set to end on September 30, 2021 following an extension that was granted in June this year.
Justice Zondo said he would like the urgent matter to be heard on September 28 and parties that wish to oppose it must file their papers by September 21. He added that he intends to ask the court to grant his commission until December 31, 2021 to finalise its work, which has been hampered by a range of factors despite working on weekends and sometimes at night to meet deadlines.
The extension, according to the papers, is not to open a window to hear fresh evidence from witnesses or to allow cross-examination of previous witnesses, but to finalise the report, with recommendations and findings, to be handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Among the reasons advanced by Justice Zondo was that his team has to make summaries and analyses of evidence provided by over 330 witnesses and that was proving to be a tall order, hence his application.
“My assessment was that my team and I would be able to have completed the first drafts on various topics by the end of July and that we would complete the second drafts by the third week of August and the third and final drafts between the 10th and 15th of September. In reality, things have not worked like that.
“On the whole, we have taken longer to complete the first drafts. Although some of the first drafts under different topics were completed by the end of July, most only got completed in the course of August and yet some are being completed now in September.
“I need to point out that the amount of work involved under the different topics or workstreams is not the same. The work involves the preparation of summaries and analysis of evidence led over a period of three years in which more than 330 witnesses testified,” Justice Zondo said in his affidavit.
Among the other reasons cited by Justice Zondo in his affidavit is that some witnesses contracted Covid-19 and could not come to testify on time and some of his staff members fell sick for more than a month and that interrupted the workflow.