State capture inquiry witness in quarantine, fails to appear

14 August 2020 - 11:31 By MAWANDE AMASHABALALA
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission of inquiry into state capture.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission of inquiry into state capture.

Former CFO in the Free State department of agriculture Seipati Dhlamini on Friday failed to show up at the state capture inquiry, saying she was in quarantine after members of her family tested positive for Covid-19.

To this end, commission chairperson Raymond Zondo was forced to postpone the hearing of her evidence to a date yet to be determined, making Friday a wasted day for the commission whose time to wrap up is running out.

According to Dhlamini's legal counsel, Covid-19 had been twice the reason they sought the postponement of their client's evidence.

Apparently, early this month Dhlamini's then lawyer tested positive for Covid-19 and had to withdraw.

And then last week, Dhlamini learnt that she had been in contact with a family member who contracted the coronavirus and after consulting her doctor was instructed to quarantine until August 23.

The commission's legal team did not oppose the application for a postponement but suggested how she could be fitted in on the commission's tight schedule when she comes out of quarantine.

The inquiry's legal team told Zondo that they would require a full day to complete the hearing of Dhlamini or if that was not possible at least two night shifts in succession.

Zondo agreed, saying he would look at the commission schedule and decide when Dhlamini would assume the hot seat.

The commission has recently introduced night shifts to slot in those that have asked for postponements of hearing of their evidence.

It may now expand this to weekend sessions, announced the chairperson, as pressure to finish and issue findings and recommendations is mounting on Zondo.


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