Zondo state capture commission has two years, court confirms
This means its work will not be finalised before national elections next year
The state capture commission of inquiry will have until March 2020 to complete its work.
On Tuesday morning, the High Court in Pretoria confirmed an interim court order granted by the court earlier in 2018 in which it extended the time period it had to conduct its work from 180 days to 24 months, taking March 2018 as the start.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, has indicated in court papers that the commission plans to complete hearing evidence by August 2019, and that the rest of the time will be spent on on compiling the report and analysing the evidence.
The court has been expected to grant the extension, as none of the parties, as far as it is known, opposed the application.
The extension means no outcome from the commission, chaired by Zondo, will be finalised before SA heads to the polls next year.
The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) dropped its opposition to the length of the extension, after ironing out a misunderstanding over how the time would be calculated.
Casac had said it did not oppose an extension, but did not agree about adding 24 months to the initial 180 days.
Zondo clarified in the replying affidavit that the commission had not asked for an additional 24 months, on top of the 180 days prescribed by the public protector in the State of Capture report, which was confirmed by the court in December.
He said the commission wanted 24 months in total, which would make the difference between what Casac had proposed only six months. Casac initially had interpreted the commission’s request as seeking 30 months to complete its work.
“The commission's plans at present are to complete the hearing of evidence around August 2019 and to thereafter dedicate the rest of the 24-month period to an analysis of the evidence and the preparation of the report,” Zondo said in his reply.
Zondo had cited a delay in issuing top-secret security clearances as one of the reasons the commission's work was delayed.
The State Security Agency gave an undertaking to complete it by September 21, but it is not yet clear whether it has been completed.