Zondo ‘does not need two years’
Judge Raymond Zondo’s commission of inquiry into state capture does not need the 24 months he has asked for and it could be done in 12 months, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) has said in court papers.
Zondo has asked the Pretoria high court for an extension to 24 months to conduct the inquiry from the original 180 days, calculated from March 1. The application was granted subject to confirmation by the court in October.
RESPONSE WOULD ASSIST IN SHEDDING LIGHT ON WHICH ORGANS OF STATE WERE NOT COMPLYING.
The commission had to adjourn to Friday so its second witness, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, can come to testify.
Casac’s Lawson Naidoo said in an answering affidavit to the urgent application made by Zondo in July that "whilst the commission must be given adequate time to discharge its duties, this must be counterbalanced by the need for finality and resolution".
In court papers filed last week, Casac proposed a 12-month extension.
He said Zondo had not set out a factual basis for a 24-month extension, which is four times the original 180 days given by the public protector.
Unless the commission was given a set date by which to complete its work, it "will bear the risk of running perpetually", Naidoo said.
Casac asked Zondo to show why the proposed 12-month extension would be insufficient to complete the commission’s work in terms of the specific terms of reference.
He also asked for a more detailed explanation for how it plans to structure its work and use its time.
Casac was one of the respondents in former president Jacob Zuma’s application to have the public protector’s State of Capture report reviewed and set aside. The public protector was invited to comment on Zondo’s urgent application.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, the public protector and various political parties and other organisations, including Casac, were invited to show cause on October 2 why the period of 180 days should not be extended by 24 months, to be calculated from March 1.
The commission has been plagued by delays since its establishment in January. Zuma has been notified by the commission that he is implicated in the testimony of at least three witnesses: former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, former head of the Government Communication and Information System Themba Maseko and its current deputy director-general, Phumla Williams.
In the founding papers of the application, Zondo sets out various causes for the delays, which include obtaining security clearances, budgeting constraints and obtaining premises.
Casac asked him to provide more details, such as when requests were made and how long it took the relevant state agency to respond.
Naidoo said that Zondo’s response will assist in shedding light on which organs of state are not complying with the terms of reference.