Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has disputed claims that the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture has overspent, saying it had spent just under R1 billion.
“I don’t know the exact figure now, I didn’t check the latest figures, but I accept that it’s probably just under R1 billion that has been spent,” commission chairperson Zondo said on Wednesday while giving an update to the public on the commission’s work.
During the media briefing, the chairperson said while the commission had cost taxpayers, it was important to also note the state had recovered money from consulting firm McKinsey & Co, which was accused of playing a role in state capture.
“As I have said before, when that amount is taken into account it is fair to take into account that through the efforts of the commission no less than R864 million has been paid back to state-owned entities by McKinsey
“The first amount was R850 million, which we talked about some time back and recently I think we did mention or announce that, in one of the hearings, there was R14 million that was paid back to, I think, SAA,” he said.
Zondo, however, said the work of the commission could not be measured in “rands and cents”, stressing that the commission’s inception was to ensure the looting of money and resources under the state capture era does not repeat itself.
He further said he believed the money spent on the commission so far had been used reasonably and for important work.
It was announced in May that McKinsey had agreed to pay back Transnet R870 million for contracts it secured through Regiments Capital.
The fees totaled R688 million, but Transnet has also managed to secure interest on the sum of just more than R200 million.
McKinsey has already paid back more than R1 billion (including interest) for work done for another state-owned enterprise, Eskom. This contract was also tainted by the involvement of Regiments Capital.
In April, The Citizen reported that the commission had spent about R830 million at the time.
This after it emerged in July last year that R244.5 million had been spent in 2018, the year the commission was established, and R111 million the following year.
The commission was then allocated an additional R130 million to complete its work by March 2021 on top of the R700 million it had spent by then.
The national Treasury then made R75 million available for the commission to continue its work by June.
The cost might increase after the high court in Pretoria on Monday granted the commission another three month extension until September as it was in the public’s interest.
On Wednesday, Zondo said the commission would finalise its report “in due course”, hoping they would do so by the end of August.
The chairperson, however, explained he had asked the 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 up the work of the commission as soon as possible,” he said.
He further noted there would not be a provisional report of the commission and that only a final report would be released.