'So this is the end for now': Zondo says just a handful of witnesses left to go

Acting chief justice Raymond Zondo said on Monday only 'five or six' witnesses, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, were left to deliver oral testimony

05 July 2021 - 16:10
By aphiwe deklerk AND Aphiwe Deklerk
Raymond Zondo has chaired the commission since it began its work in 2018. File photo.
Image: VELI NHLAPO Raymond Zondo has chaired the commission since it began its work in 2018. File photo.

The work of the state capture commission is nearly done, acting chief justice Raymond Zondo has confirmed.

On Monday, Zondo said that oral evidence in front of his commission was “almost” complete, with just a handful of witnesses remaining, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, to take the stand.

The Zondo commission began its work in 2018, with its purpose to probe allegations of state capture, largely in the wake of allegations against the Gupta family. It was tasked with probing corruption and fraud in the public sector during the tenure of former president Jacob Zuma.

To date, the commission has spent more than R1bn doing this work and its deadline to complete a report has been extended several times.

“We are done with the hearing of all evidence, except for about five or six witnesses and the president, whose evidence will be heard later in July. So there will be no further oral evidence this week, nor next week.

“So this is the end for now,” said Zondo.

He, however, did not specify when he would complete his report.

Zuma has all but shown a middle finger to the commission after Zondo refused to recuse himself as the chairperson after the former president cited a conflict of interest.

As a result, Zondo went to the Constitutional Court, which ruled that Zuma was in contempt when he failed to obey its instruction to attend the commission. He has since been sentenced to 15 months in jail.

The Gupta brothers never appeared in front of Zondo after they fled to Dubai around the same time of the commencement of the commission.

Zondo refused to allow the brothers testify via camera.

However, their return to face the law in South African could be imminent after the United Arab Emirates ratified its treaty with SA, which would lead to their extradition.

The Investigative Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority, which is probing serious crimes, including revelations at the state capture commission, has also confirmed that “red notices” have been issued by Interpol for the Gupta brothers.

Red notices are issued for fugitives who are wanted for prosecution. They mean that law-enforcement agencies worldwide can arrest a person so that they can face an extradition to a certain country to face prosecution.