'We're ready‚' says chair of state capture inquiry

27 July 2018 - 14:34 By Nico Gous
The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry in State Capture Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says it is all systems go for the inquiry to kick start on August 20 2018
The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry in State Capture Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says it is all systems go for the inquiry to kick start on August 20 2018
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele

Public hearings of the commission of inquiry into state capture will start on August 20.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced this on Friday during a media briefing in Johannesburg.

“We are very ready - but I am not going to say to you 100%‚ because in reality you always feel that there is still something to do‚” he said.

Zondo said they expected to hear the testimony of six to eight witnesses over three weeks‚ but this could increase.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced that August 20 2018 will be the starting date for the Commissions of Inquiry into the Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector Including Organs of State, in a media briefing on Friday July 27 2018 Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

“We will be guided by the evidence‚” he said. “Once we have finalised the evidence that is intended to fall into that session‚ then there may be a break.”

He said the first witnesses will be announced in “due course”.

The commission will announce the next set of dates during the break.

“We will probably have another hearing before the end of the year‚ but certainly from early next year we would be continuing.”

The commission will on Monday issue its first notices to those implicated by witnesses‚ who would then have two weeks to respond to allegations against them.

“It’s not going to be enough for that person to simply say‚ 'I deny this' or 'I dispute this'. We want to know what they have to say about the whole story. The rules will require them to not only answer that‚ but also to say what their version is.”

Zondo reiterated that this was an inquiry and not a court‚ so if a person was implicated by a witness‚ they could apply to the inquiry to cross-examine a witness. This application could be granted or denied.

“Conditions may be attached by the chairperson to that. That may include duration. I am not going to give people all the time they want. There is going to be a reasonable control.”

Witnesses can apply to testify in camera‚ but it is up to the inquiry to decide. “It is not just going to depend just on the liking of the particular witness‚” he said.

Zondo successfully applied at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for a provisional extension of the inquiry’s timeframe from 180 days to two years.

The inquiry will focus on a number of issues and allegations identified in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s “State of Capture” report‚ including claims that the Gupta family attempted to bribe former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and questions over the role allegedly played by the family in other government appointments.

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