State capture inquiry granted 3-month extension after Covid-19 disruptions

23 February 2021 - 11:59 By Franny Rabkin
The state capture inquiry is working night and day to finish its work after disruptions caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, the Pretoria high court heard on Tuesday. File photo.
The state capture inquiry is working night and day to finish its work after disruptions caused by the Covid-19 lockdown, the Pretoria high court heard on Tuesday. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The state capture inquiry has been granted a three-month extension by the Pretoria high court.

It will now have until June 30 to deliver its report to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi granted the order in court on Tuesday morning after the inquiry’s application was made unopposed.

Mngqibisa-Thusi said she was satisfied the commission had made out a case for the extension.

When the commission had last asked for an extension the court had granted it, but ordered it would be the “final” one.

On Tuesday, the inquiry’s counsel, Paul Kennedy SC, said the commission was only asking for the period that had been lost because of the national lockdown last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the inquiry had been “literally working night and day” — a reference to the evening sessions the inquiry has been holding — to finish.

Mngqibisi-Thusi said her only concern was that when she looked at the number of witnesses yet to be called by the commission, there might yet be a further extension application.

Kennedy said he could not give “an absolute guarantee” there would be no further application but the commission was “pulling out all the stops” to finish.

He said that if there was to be a further application, it would have to be justified and would require the most extreme of circumstances.

The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) had in the last application argued that the extension be a last and final one.

However this time, it supported the commission’s extension application.

In court on Tuesday, its counsel Ofentse Motlhasedi said if there was to be another extension, this would need to be applied for, and justified, so Casac and other interested parties would have an opportunity to respond.

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