Johannesburg - The pro-Zuma Radical Economic Transformation Champions, led by Nkosentsha Shezi, intend to hand a memorandum to state capture inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo calling, among other things, for the scope of the inquiry to be broadened.
They are also appealing to commission Zondo to address what they termed the " debilitating limitations of the commission of inquiry into state capture" and have cautioned that failure to do so would " do the justice system in South Africa a huge disservice".
The group arrived at the inquiry venue on Monday morning with busloads of supporters of former president Jacob Zuma who is testifying before the commission this week.
While acknowledging the circumstances under which the Zondo commission was established, Shezi and his supporters contend that any inquiry into so-called state capture " should start with the capture of South Africa by the white European colonists".
The group also takes issue with the fact that the commission is using a venue owned by media group Tiso Blackstar. According to them, this " creates the unfortunate impression that The Commission could itself be captured, or be beholden to certain interest groups and financial commitments".
Read the full text of the memorandum:
We, the people who are gathered here at the hearing of the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture (hereinafter referred to as The Commission), in support of former President Jacob Zuma, who is appearing before the Commission, herewith present this Memorandum to the Honorable Deputy Chief Justice, and Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Justice Raymond Zondo.
It is appreciated that Mr. Justice Zondo was given a mandate for The Commission that was not of his own making, and that this is very limiting and debilitating with regards to The Commission being able to fully investigate the scope and duration of State Capture.
However, nonetheless, we call our Deputy Chief Justice to have the courage and integrity to be upfront and honest that this as a serious problem. It is very important for the sake of our South African Judiciary that the debilitating limitations of the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture must be acknowledged. If the Honorable Justice Zondo fails to do so he will do the Justice System in South Africa a huge disservice.
Every effort must be made to avoid the growing perception that the South African judicial system, and specific members of our judiciary, are captured by certain factional political and business interests. Any impression that the judiciary bows to specific interests, and does not execute is critical duties in a free, fair and unbiased manner - without fear or favor - will have devastating consequences for our Constitutional Democracy.
As concerned citizens we therefore call on Mr Justice Zondo to act with courage and determination to save our judicial system. The manner in which he proceeds with the work of The Commission will be of critical overall importance, and will also determine his own legacy. History will not judge any failure to address, and correct, the current serious shortcomings of the mandate of The Commission kindly.
As we gather here in support of former President Jacob Zuma, we mostly come so in our personal capacities, but we are also representative of a broad an deep spectrum of concerned South African citizens, who are committed to a just and democratic society that must address in a serious, honest, and non-factional, manner the various ills of our society.
Foremost in our minds is the plight of the millions of poor and unemployed South Africans, who deserve a better and more just life. We are concerned that White Monopoly Capital Interests are increasingly dictating the future of our beloved country, and also ultimately also influence and determine the scope work of The Commission.
We, therefore, raise the following concerns and register our demands:
* The Commission must be seen to be at all times even handed in its approach, and that every South African citizen, regardless of political persuasion creed or background, must have an even and fair chance to defend themselves when they are implicated by any evidence that is led before The Commission.
* The current mandate of The Commission is far too narrow, both in terms of scope and understanding of what State Capture is, as well as the long historical period of colonial exploitation and subjugation that the majority of black South Africans have been subjected to. It is our considered view that any true and fair understanding of the phenomenon of State Capture must cover the totality of the history of South Africa, and should start with the capture of South Africa by the white European colonists.
We understand that the mandate of The Commission was derived from the report on State Capture by the former Public Protector, entitled the ‘State of Capture’, but as a consequence the mandate of The Commission is far too narrow, and actually fatally flawed.
It’s origins make the manner in which The Commission had been established suspect, and therefore unfortunately prone to be used to cover up certain untoward and corrupt activities, while there is a growing perception that The Commission - in a selective and politically factional self-serving manner - concentrates only on certain issues and activities.
Under these circumstances it is very difficult, if not impossible, for The Commission to escape being used/abused as a political tool for the promotion of certain self-serving interest groups, while targeting others.
* For the sake of the integrity of the work of The Commission, as well as the overall integrity of the Judiciary and the Justice System in South Africa, Justice Zondo must urgently address these issues, and insist that the mandate of The Commission, even at this late stage, should be broadened in order to be historically just, fair and all inclusive.
* We are very concerned about how the mainstream media reports on the work of The Commission. Their reporting is biased, and evidently with the intention to constantly target certain groupings and individuals opposed to White Monopoly Capital (WMC) interests.
For the sake of the integrity of The Commission it is critically important that The Commission, and specifically the Chairperson of The Commission, Justice Zondo, should call the mainstream media to task for the selective and factional manner that they report about the work of The Commission. In this regard we urge The Commission to be more careful about how, and where it operates.
The fact that the premises from where The Commission operates are owned by a mainstream media house, namely Tiso Blackstar Media, creates the unfortunate impression that The Commission could itself be captured, or be beholden to certain interest groups and financial commitments.
The Sunday Times, which is the flagship publication of Tiso Blackstar Media is vociferously biased against former President Jacob Zuma, and published and continues to publish, a constant stream of lies and Stratcom-like fake news stories against former President Jacob Zuma, and those associated with him.
Under the circumstances for The Commission to continue to be housed in premises owned by such a blatantly biased interested party, means that The Commission is itself conflicted, and compromised. We, therefore, demand that The Commission must immediately rescind the rental contract it has with Tiso Blackstar Media, and move to different premises.
* We make an earnest call to Justice Zondo to avoid entering the minefield of factional battles, which can only lead to the abuse of the judiciary.
An important indicator of the direction The Commission is taking in this regard, will be whether the former Commissioner of SARS, Mr. Tom Monyane, will be given the right to question Minister Pravin Gordhan.
This Memorandum of Concern and Hope is herewith handed over to Mr. Justice Zondo - or his duly delegated representative - by those gathered at the premises of the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture, while former President Jacob Zuma appears before The Commission.