State capture inquiry price tag already tops R350m - with a year to go

16 September 2019 - 12:58 By AMIL UMRAW
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the commission of inquiry into state capture. File photo.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the commission of inquiry into state capture. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy

Investigations into state capture in the public sector and governance at revenue service Sars have so far cost the country more than R350m.

The commission of inquiry into state capture, commonly known as the Zondo commission, consumes the bulk of the expense. Since its inception in 2018, it has cost the state about R350m. 

And it still has about a year to run. 

The commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance at Sars, headed by retired judge Robert Nugent last year, cost the state about R8.1m.

The details were revealed by justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola in answering written questions from DA parliamentarians. 

Nugent's commission, which held public hearings for about six months at the beginning of last year, spent about R200,000 paying its employees and about R7.9m for what Lamola described as "goods and services" in his reply.

The commission found that under former tax boss Tom Moyane, specialised units at the revenue service were shut down, staff were forced out and contracts were awarded irregularly. It recommended that the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) institute criminal proceedings in some of the matters. 

Nugent's inquiry, however, was small in comparison to the ongoing probe into state capture by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. That commission cost the state about R356m as of August 31.

About R15m went towards paying staff, about R53m was spent on machinery and equipment, and R286m for goods and services. This includes payments for investigators, legal services, "investigative tools" and other expenses. 

The commission is expected to end public hearings in June 2020, after which Zondo will finalise his report for the president. 

In a separate question to public works minister Patricia de Lille, the EFF also asked about the lease agreement between the Zondo commission and owners at the Parktown venue where it holds its hearings. 

De Lille said the lease agreement, signed with Tiso Blackstar in May 2018, was for 12 months and had been extended for another seven months. It costs the commission about R860,000 to rent the facilities every month. 


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