‘We won’t be intimidated by anyone’: Zondo on break-in, bullet discovery

All data is securely backed up and recoverable, says inquiry secretary

19 April 2021 - 11:43 By nonkululeko njilo
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, chairperson of the state capture inquiry, said he refused to be intimidated by 'anybody trying to intimidate the inquiry into not doing its work properly'.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, chairperson of the state capture inquiry, said he refused to be intimidated by 'anybody trying to intimidate the inquiry into not doing its work properly'.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

The chairperson of the state capture inquiry, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, has spoken out against the inquiry’s offices being shot at and broken into in the space of days.

Zondo said he had received a report last week that a bullet was fired at one of the windows of the inquiry’s offices at night, and a bullet casing was found the next day.

On Sunday, the offices were broken into and a computer monitor and laptop were stolen. 

Zondo said the incidents were cause for concern and potentially an attempt to intimidate the work of the inquiry. 

“We just want to say that if anybody is trying to intimidate the commission into not doing its job properly, they must know the commission will not be intimidated,” Zondo said on Monday. 

The commission is under pressure to complete its work by the end of June. Zondo was adamant the incidents will not have a significant impact on its deadline. 

“The men and women who keep this commission going every day dedicate a lot of extra hours in the evenings and over weekends and are very determined that the work of the commission is completed,” he said. 

“I certainly will not be intimated by anybody into not finishing the work the way it should be done. We are determined to do what we are required to do and to do it properly.”

While the motives for the two incidents have not been established, Zondo said he hoped the perpetrators would be held to account.

“We hope the law enforcement agencies will do their work and find those who are responsible for this and bring them to book. I thought it is important the nation should know we are not going to be deterred in the work we are doing.”

Prof Itumeleng Mosala, secretary of the commission, provided more details about the incidents.

“On the weekend of April 10 and 11, a bullet was fired through a library window in the inquiry building. The bullet was discovered on the Monday morning on the floor of the library.

“Over the past weekend, April 17 and 18, a burglary occurred at the commission offices. The incident happened during the early morning hours on April 18. A computer and monitor were stolen during the incident.”

Both matters were reported at the Hillbrow police station.

The commission will take further steps to have its security systems beefed up, Mosala said.

“The commission processes extremely important, confidential and often very sensitive data and information in their computers. For this reason, the commission was concerned about the burglary and theft of computers, as with any other assets of the commission.”

The work of the commission would not be impacted by the break-in, he said “The commission is able to confirm that all data and information are securely backed up and recoverable.”

The inquiry is on Monday scheduled to hear evidence from National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chair Amos Masondo. In the evening, energy minister Gwede Mantashe will continue his testimony.

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