Last week the leader of the United Democratic Movement, Bantu Holomisa, testified before the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) inquiry and in conclusion called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to give the commission more time and resources to do its work. Holomisa has a point. For starters, there were indeed delays by the department of justice relating to the establishment of the inquiry. Despite setting out the terms of reference at the start of October last year, the commission only began hearings in late January. The first hearings were characterised by retired Supreme Court judge Lex Mpati, who heads the commission, reminding people to come forward and making assurances regarding their safety. He also offered to treat submissions confidentially if so requested.

Those reminders have ceased as the commission progressed and more people have come forward. We know that some potential witnesses took a wait-and-see attitude to developments, gauging how seriously the commission was ...

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