News / South Africa / State Capture

Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
29 Sep 2021
10:00 am

High court set to grant Zondo commission’s request for a fifth extension

Citizen Reporter

The state capture commission has applied for a three-month extension in order to complete its work.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the State Capture Commission in Braamfontein, 4 November 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

The Pretoria High Court on Wednesday morning will hear an application by the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, which seeks yet another extension period.

‘Six-week extension’

The commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has applied for a three-month extension in order to complete its work.

Zondo, in his court papers, requested that he be given until 31 December to finalise the report to be handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

However, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has argued that an extension will have “financial repercussions” for the department.

ALSO READ: ‘Just under R1 billion’: Zondo says commission has not overspent

While the justice department does not oppose the entire extension, it has submitted papers stating that an extension period of three months is “excessive”.

The department said its request to National Treasury for more funding was denied.

It also complained that Zondo had failed to provide a cost for the extension, but the justice department estimated it could run up to R35 million.

The department has recommended that a six-week extension be granted and should be capped at R15 million.

If granted by the court, this will be a fifth extension for the commission.

Inception

The commission was announced in early 2018, and tasked with investigating allegations of state capture along with public sector corruption and fraud.

The inquiry began its work in August of that year and was initially given 180 days to wrap up. However, it was granted a two-year extension of its deadline from 1 March 2018 to 18 February 2020 due to the scope of its investigations.

It was granted another extension from 1 March 2020 to 31 March 2021 due to the commission needing more time to be able to make proper findings, and disruptions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It then obtained a three-month extension until the end of June 2021 in order to complete its work.

The Pretoria High Court then granted the commission another extension from 1 July 2021 to the end of September 2021 to hear Ramaphosa’s final testimony, as well as to finalise its report.

The commission so far has spent more than R1 billion.