Zondo promises fearless probe into state capture

23 January 2018 - 14:53
By Graeme Hosken
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, pictured here with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Image: RAJESH JANTILAL Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, pictured here with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo will not be intimidated or step back from investigating anyone implicated in state capture.

Under no illusion that there will be attempts by "certain individuals" to potentially sabotage the inquiry‚ Zondo was emphatic that nothing would stop him getting answers for the South African public.

"I will investigate anybody and everybody‚ no matter who he or she is. If they fall within the terms of reference they will be investigated‚" he said at a media briefing on Tuesday in Midrand.

"The commission will do its job properly. We owe this to the people of South Africa. I would not have taken this if I had any fear."

He said the commission will‚ in its investigation‚ be guided by the evidence placed before it and all issues will be investigated thoroughly and properly.

With public concern growing over President Jacob Zuma's failure to announce the commission's terms of reference‚ Zondo was at pains to say that he was confident that they would soon be forthcoming.

Zondo‚ who declined to be drawn into whether he would launch a legal challenge or resign if he was unhappy over the terms of reference‚ said the allegations that needed to be investigated were of an "extremely serious nature".

"The allegations are so serious that they go to the very foundation of our constitution.

"These include that certain people‚ who had no constitutional powers‚ offered ministerial posts to certain individuals‚ that certain people influenced the composition of the boards of state owned entities in such a way that looting can take place."

He said he was confident that former public protector Thuli Madonsela's report into state capture would play an important role in setting out the commission's terms of reference.

"Everything about this commission comes from the former public protector’s report‚ which will be important in terms of fixing the terms of reference.

"The very appointment of this commission is based on the remedial action of the former public protector. If I have any concerns I will discuss these."

Zondo dismissed suggestions that he would not get support from government.

"I have no doubt that I will get the support I need from all ministries and all forms of the government. I don't believe that there is anyone in government not wanting these allegations to be investigated."

He said while it would be legitimate for people to be concerned‚ once the terms of reference‚ along with the commission's regulations‚ were in place‚ the commission would be ready to start its work.

"While I am ready and willing to begin my work‚ if there are any issues arising‚ such as over the terms of reference‚ I will have the necessary legal teams to provide me with a legal opinion on what actions‚ if any‚ we can take to get the commission to start its work."

Giving no sense as to what the commission's budget would be‚ Zondo however cast doubt on whether the commission could complete its work within the earmarked six months.

"Like many such other inquiries looking into such serious allegations‚ I doubt our work will be completed within this timeframe.

"What we are in the process of doing now is dealing with the commission's regulations‚ to be published in the government gazette.

"I have seen a draft of these regulations‚ which will grant powers for the appointment of key personnel such as evidence leaders and investigators."