President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday afternoon formally receive the eagerly awaited fifth and final report from the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.
The Presidency said the commission chair, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, will hand over the report at 4pm at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Shortly after the report is presented to Ramaphosa, the Presidency will publish it on its website.
Ramaphosa has so far received part one to part four of the commission’s reports. The first part of the report was handed over to the president earlier this year in January.
“The second, third and fourth reports were handed over on 1 February 2022, 1 March 2022 and 29 April 2022 respectively to director-general in the Presidency, Phindile Baleni,” the Presidency said in a statement.
Final state capture report delays
The release of the final installment of the state capture report has been delayed by a week after the commission missed the Pretoria High Court’s deadline to wrap up its work by 15 June 2022.
Earlier this week, Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the president and Zondo, during a telephone conversation, decided to delay the release of the final report.
Magwenya said a new date and time for the handover would soon be announced, but this was met by criticism from opposition parties, especially the Democratic Alliance (DA).
DA leader John Steenhuisen called on Ramaphosa and Zondo to come clean over their discussions, suggesting that the president could have interfered with the commission’s work.
“This constitutes a dangerous and unacceptable interference in the judicial process which casts a long shadow over both the independence of South Africa’s judiciary, and the credibility of the Presidency.
“At a time when trust in the Presidency is at an all-time low, any suggestion that the president may be interfering with the independent work of the commission or manipulating the timing of the report’s release is rightfully met with suspicion,” Steenhuisen said in a statement.
Ramaphosa ‘never interfered’
The Presidency denied claims that Ramaphosa interfered with the work of the commission, saying it still had not received the electronic version of the report.
“The Presidency, therefore, rejects claims that the president has in any manner interfered with the work of the commission or the judiciary as speculated by some opposition parties.
“Communication between the chief justice and the president has been over the delays in the delivery of the report and finalising the date for the official handover of the report.”
Justice Zondo also said the postponement of the handover was at his insistence, because he wanted to check the document for errors for the last time.
“The president never interfered in any way with the work of the chairperson or of the commission. The chairperson regrets any inconvenience caused by the delay and the postponement.
“The chairperson just wanted to have one final opportunity for quality assurance as he was at the [Judicial Service Commission] JSC interview yesterday [Monday] and could not do that quality assurance until sometime in the afternoon.”