Probe leader: Judge Raymond Zondo’s powers in the state of capture inquiry have been proclaimed in line with the former public protector’s recommendations. Picture: ALON SKUY
Probe leader: Judge Raymond Zondo’s powers in the state of capture inquiry have been proclaimed in line with the former public protector’s recommendations. Picture: ALON SKUY

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo has exactly 13 months to complete the work of the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

The Pretoria high court extended the time the commission has to complete its work to March 31 2021, for a last time.  

The judgment, delivered on Monday by judge Wendy Hughes, emphasised that the extension granted to Zondo and his team was the “final one”. 

Zondo had initially asked for 10 months, but added that the commission might bring another application when that time was up to ask for another three months to write and complete the report. The Council for the Advancement of the SA constitution argued that  the court should therefore give the commission 13 months, which it did.

But, as the clock now ticks down to the final deadline, it is clear from the judgment that Zondo still has to climb some mountains before the final report and its recommendations land on President Cyril Ramaphosa's desk.

The commission’s wide terms of reference have made its  task huge. They are wider than what was envisioned in the remedial action suggested in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report. That report was released by court order when incumbent Busisiwe Mkhwebane was already in the post.

In the judgment, the high court said Zondo was only able to determine how much more work was needed to be done when the 2019 public hearings concluded in early December last year.

While the commission has heard testimony of more than 150 witnesses, the details in the judgment indicates that the commission still has a lot to do before the final report is submitted.

The judgment did not refer to high profile witnesses who are still to give evidence, such as former president Jacob Zuma — at the heart of the state-capture allegations — or testimony by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was Zuma’s deputy for nearly five years. State capture is seen as a major contributor to the demise of  SA's state-owned enterprises (SOEs).  

The  judgment did provide clues on what to expect next from the commission.

It still has to hear further evidence relating to SOEs such as Eskom, Transnet, SAA, SABC, Denel and SA Express, as well as Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa). 

Fifteen more witnesses have to be called in relation to corruption in the Free State provincial government. The commission also has to look into whether parliament failed in its oversight duties, the judgment indicated.

This is particularly important, as parliament was seen as being a lapdog to the executive during Zuma’s time in office.

Investigations also have to be conducted to determine to what extent SA’s law enforcement agencies, such as the National Prosecuting Authority and the police’s elite investigating unit the Hawks, were captured.

The law enforcement agencies were for more than a decade seen as being politically abused.

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