Independent Online

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, ‘rejects’ media claims that he and Ramaphosa met

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo hands over the Zondo Commission report to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings. Image : Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo hands over the Zondo Commission report to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings. Image : Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jun 22, 2022

Share

There are growing concerns from the public and political parties with regard to the delay in the handing over of the last instalments of the State Capture Inquiry Report.

The Presidency on Tuesday rejected any claims of interference in the judiciary as some opposition parties had speculated amid the delay.

Story continues below Advertisement

The commission was due to submit the report on June 15 and later announced that it would be handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday. However that did not happen and that led to speculation that the president might be interfering.

“The Presidency still awaits the final report of the Zondo Commission and rejects speculations of interference with the judiciary,” the president’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said.

Magwenya added: “Communication between the Chief Justice and the President has been over the delays in the delivery of the report and finalising the date for the official handover of the report.”

Story continues below Advertisement

The commission’s chairperson, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, yesterday also rejected media claims that he and Ramaphosa had met on Monday.

Justice Zondo said the postponement of the handover was agreed upon his insistence as he wanted to go through the report one last time to see if there were any errors.

A statement by the commission's secretary, Professor Itumeleng Mosala, said Justice Zondo and the president did not have any meeting on Monday.

Story continues below Advertisement

“The postponement of the handover of the report was agreed upon at the instance of the chairperson as he wished to check the report for errors for the last time. The president never interfered in any way with the work of the chairperson or of the commission,” said Mosala.

The commission also apologised to the public for any inconvenience caused by the delay and the postponement.

“The chairperson just wanted to have one final opportunity for quality assurance as he was at the JSC (Judicial Service Commission) interview on Monday and could not do that quality assurance until sometime in the afternoon,” Mosala said.

Story continues below Advertisement

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said people should not be reading too much into the delay as delays do happen from time to time.

“What seems to be problematic is the fact that the Chief Justice has had to engage Ramaphosa regarding the timing of the release,” said Seepe.

He said it raises questions given that the president is for all intents and purposes not innocent of the failures attributed to state capture.

“For the suspicious mind, it could be seen as an attempt to assure the president that he has nothing to worry since the report may have been doctored to present him in a good light.

“We are also talking about a chief justice who decided to wade into the political space by commenting about the outcome of contestation within the ANC. As EFF leader Julius Malema pointed out, the chief justice comes across as a chief factionalist in our politics,” Seepe said.

Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the party is disappointed by yet another delay of the report.

“These delays cause a lot of questions and suspicion in the absence of proper explanation and reasons. Our question is: Does Ramaphosa have a hand in these delays?

“This will strengthen the view that the leadership of the ANC will do everything in its power to dilute the final report. Everybody knows that the majority of people implicated in wrongdoing come from the ANC. The ANC as a party is also fingered together with its president Ramaphosa. This is certainly a very concerning development,” said Bloem.

The EFF called for the immediate release of the report.

“We call for the immediate release of the final instalment of the report, before it can be further manipulated by Ramaphosa and Zondo,” EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said.

Tambo added: “Zondo, who denied Fraser an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses at the commission, effectively denying the nation an opportunity of understanding the inner workings of the capture of the state, and Ramaphosa, who is criminally accused by Fraser, lack the impartiality to handle a report which pertains to the State Security Agency.

“The longer this report remains in their corrupted and compromised hands, the more likely that it will be distorted and given to the captured media, to divert attention by casting aspersions on Arthur Fraser in order to protect Ramaphosa,” Tambo said.

FF Plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald said South Africa has a right to know why Justice Zondo is allegedly dragging his feet in submitting the report.

“There are also reports of a meeting that had supposedly taken place between the president and Zondo. The public has the right to know what was discussed during this meeting and why it was held. Such things inevitably create suspicion.

“It must be kept in mind that more than a billion rand of taxpayers’ money was used for the inquiry into allegations of state capture and corruption. The people want the assurance that their money is used sensibly, and that corruption will be eradicated,” Groenewald said.

Magwenya said the Presidency would make an announcement once it had received the final report.

[email protected]

Share