Former President Jacob Zuma makes his way into the commission for his first appearance before the Zondo Commission. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
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.

Rosebank, Johannesburg