The Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo says the inquiry “cannot say anything at this stage” on whether former president Jacob Zuma was the architect of state capture.
Zondo, on Wednesday, gave updated to the public on the commission’s work during a media briefing, where he indicated that the commission has enough evidence to make “clear findings” without what’s left of former president Jacob Zuma’s testimony.
Zuma was guilty of contempt of court by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Tuesday for failing to obey a court order compelling him to appear before the commission.
On the ConCourt ruling against Zuma, Zondo said the commission welcomed the judgement as it showed that no person, despite their status in society, was above the law.
“We think it of great importance in our constitutional democracy and indicates the rule of law of our Constitution. It also reaffirms that we are all equal before the law,” he said.
The chairperson also indicated that the commission will complete its work without Zuma, who has vowed not to appear before the inquiry, maintaining his stance that he doesn’t fear being arrested.
“The commission will continue with it’s work [because as we know] Mr Zuma took the view that he will not participate in the commission, he will not appear and he said the commission can whatever conclusion it wishes to reach,” Zondo said.
He further said the commission “cannot say anything at this stage” on whether Zuma was the architect of state capture.
“We will asses and review all the evidence that has been led and whatever he have to say about Mr Zuma’s role and the role of many others will be in the report,” he said.
Zondo revealed that the Gupta brothers, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, has filed their affidavits in response to testimonies delivered by witnesses at the commission.
“Having said that I must indicate that the Guptas did file some affidavits with the commission in response to certain witnesses not all witnesses where they put their version. First initially in support of their application for leave to cross-examine certain witnesses.
“I think earlier this year or towards the end of last year there are some affidavits they the filed,” he said.
However, there was no time to hear evidence from the fugitive brothers.
The chairperson explained that the commission was at a stage where it needs to wrap up its work, further adding that they made a choice not to appear before the commission.
“We are not going to reopen a whole hearing now for the Guptas,” he said.
Submissions and witnesses
Zondo, who has sat in 418 days hearing evidence, pointed out the commission has collected 71,000 pages in submissions from more than 300 witnesses ever since the inquiry began its work almost three years ago.
The commission was announced in early 2018, and tasked with investigating allegations of state capture along with public sector corruption and fraud.
It began its work in August of that year and was initially given 180 days to wrap up.
While the commission was granted another three-month extension on Monday, the chairperson reiterated the commission will hear President Cyril Ramaphosa’s final testimony and a couple of other witnesses in July before moving ahead to finalise the commission’s report.
“Except for a few witnesses who will be heard some time in July – for all intends and purposes… except for those we have covered all the oral evidence that was considered as important
“As I said in my affidavit in the extension application [there is] about five or six witnesses that the commission has identified as important to b called plus the President who must still come give evidence who the commission,” he said.
No provisional report
Zondo said the commission will finalise its report “in due course”, hoping that they would do so by the end of August.
The chairperson, however, explained that he asked the High Court in Pretoria for September in case the commission did not complete its work by then.
“It’s very difficult to be exact with these things so we are going to do the best we can to finish within this time. I think that nobody can doubt our commitment to wrap the work of the commission as soon as possible,” he said.
He further noted that there will not be a provisional report of the commission, adding that only a final report will be released.
Zondo revealed that the commission has spent just under R1 billion.