Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo addressed the commission of inquiry into state capture he chairs on Tuesday, speaking out against the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) incendiary attacks against Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.
EFF leader Julius Malema and deputy Floyd Shivambu were among those who made inflammatory statements about the minister in speeches delivered outside the commission while he was giving testimony, accusing him of being a “dog” of white monopoly capital and continuing their attempts to link his daughter Anisha to corruption.
Shivambu also accused Gordhan of owning the media, “particularly Tiso Blackstar”.
Zondo said that while the commission could not get involved with disputes between Gordhan and his political rivals, for any witness at the inquiry to be subjected to intimidation is “unacceptable”. He also highlighted the insults that had been hurled at advocate Paul Pretorius.
The three days of protests by the EFF as well as the insults he was subjected to may discourage other witnesses from agreeing to give testimony, Zondo said.
He highlighted the fact that Gordhan came to give testimony at the inquiry voluntarily and was prepared to have his testimony tested.
Zondo said the commission would not involve the police in the matter for now and would instead focus on the job of continuing the inquiry.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also spoke in parliament about the party’s protest at the commission, questioning the inquiry’s location inside a building owned by Tiso Blackstar media group.
In a declaration on the budgetary review report of the chief justice, Ndlozi told the National Assembly: “The Zondo commission must get out of the headquarters of Tiso Blackstar with immediate effect.”
The declaration came just a day after Malema’s attack on both Gordhan and journalists. Ndlozi claimed the commission was at risk of becoming a “Mickey Mouse” inquiry and a waste of taxpayer’s money because of the building in which it was based.
He went as far as calling the media group “the new capturers”, including it in his wider attack on both the Zondo commission and Gordhan.