Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Ramaphosa ‘the last witness’ as Zondo seeks limited extension

Zondo says that he will approach the court with the extension application because the commission needed more time to complete its work.

The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has revealed that the commission is seeking another extension to complete its work.

This is after Zondo announced on Tuesday that President Cyril Ramaphosa will testify at the commission next Monday, 31 May, and Tuesday, 1 June.

Zondo explained Ramaphosa would testify in his capacity as the President and former deputy president of the country, however, there were “outstanding issues” that Ramaphosa must deal with, in relation to his previous appearance.

During opening proceedings, the chairperson said that the commission will have to apply for a limited extension to finalise its report, adding that some still needed to appear at the commission as well.

“The commission is mindful of the fact that there are some applications for leave to cross-examine that have been not disposed yet and these will be given due consideration.

“The interest of the integrity of the work of the commission and the interest of all concerned indicate that some exceptions must be made and some witnesses must still be called that will be looked at.

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“But on the whole, the commission wishes to wrap up oral evidence because by the end of his [Ramaphosa] evidence it would’ve covered all the evidence relating to the matters that were included in the public protector’s report that gave rise to this commission.

“Everybody will recall that sometime ago I indicated that in order for the commission to complete its work within the time we are looking at or even last year we would focus on what I said were public protector issues,” he said.

The chairperson highlighted that if the commission’s previous extension wasn’t there, evidence would have been left out.

“Everyone knows that if we had ended the hearing of oral evidence by the end of March… there is very important evidence that has been led in April and May which would have been left and the nation needed to hear and that includes some evidence relating to the State Security Agency (SSA).

“But it also include evidence by some of the high ranking officials of the SOEs [state-owned enterprises] in respect of whom there has been serious allegations of corruption and state capture. So it was important that those high ranking officials be given time and allocated for them to complete their evidence,” he said.

Another extension

In February this year, the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday granted the Commission a three-month extension until the end of June 2021 in order to complete its work.

This was the third request as the commission was given an extension to 31 March 2021 by the High Court last year, due to the commission needing more time to be able to make proper findings, and the disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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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.

Watch the proceedings, courtesy of SABC News, below:

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