Amanda Watson
News Editor
3 minute read
22 Jun 2022
9:51 pm

Zondo glad to finally see the end of state capture commission

Amanda Watson

Chief Justice Zondo said he is glad the day has finally arrived, while President Ramaphosa described state capture as 'an assault on our democracy'.

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

“This day has arrived. After nearly four years of oral evidence, there was a time I wasn’t sure it would come, but I’m glad it has come,” said Chief Justice Raymond Zondo at the handover of the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture at the Union Buildings earlier this evening.

It cost nearly R1 billion, there were five extensions from court, a former president jailed over his refusal to testify before Zondo at the commission of inquiry, and confusion and riots which shook South African to the core.

Greeting President Cyril Ramaphosa and others, Zondo said he and his staff hadn’t slept much the night before.

“[My staff members are here] who didn’t sleep last night and have been sleeping very few hours in recent weeks,” said Zondo with a wave to his team.

He apologised to Ramaphosa and the country for keeping them waiting.

While former public protector Thuli Madonsela has been lauded for setting the commission in motion and adroitly side stepping recalled and now contempt-ofcourt convicted former president Jacob Zuma, many may have forgotten about Father Stanislaus Muyebe, vicar-general of the Dominican Order of Southern Africa, who first asked Madonsela to investigate if the Guptas were running Zuma’s Cabinet.

And nearly 200 000 pages and more than 270 witnesses, the final report was the biggest of them all.

An emotional Zondo thanked his team “for the work they had done for the country”, in spite of the hard work and threats over the years.

Ramaphosa said state capture “was an assault on our democracy and violated the rights of every man, woman and child in this country”.

“In line with the directive of the high court, within four months from this date, I will formally present to parliament the full report of the commission together with an indication of my intentions on the implementation of the commission’s recommendations,” said Ramaphosa.

Also Read: Ramaphosa explains what he discussed with Zondo on Monday

“This report provides us with the opportunity to make a decisive break with the era of state capture.”

Brett Herron, secretary-general of the Good party and MP said the handing over of the final chapter of the report “marks a historic moment for our country’s young democracy since it brings an end to an unprecedented process of scrutinising, in a very public way, an overwhelming amount of evidence about a criminal web of high flyers, politicians and the well connected”.

“South Africans’ patience with this process, and the slight delay in the handing over of the final report, and our endurance of the era of capture and then the long and drawn out commission’s hearings can only be rewarded if the evidence of wrongdoing that has been heard and reported on is now actioned,” Herron said.

Also Read: Jacob Zuma and Arthur Fraser worked to keep each other out of prison – Zondo

“Many whistle-blowers took very high risks, at great personal costs, to share their evidence. The chief justice, and the staff of the commission, have served their country with honour and distinction and often through very difficult times in the life of the commission.

Herron said it was “is now for the criminal justice system to play their part in investigating and prosecuting without fear or favour and certainly without political interference”.