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Judge Raymond Zondo. Picture: Veli Nhlapo
Judge Raymond Zondo. Picture: Veli Nhlapo

John Dludlu draws a number of factually incorrect conclusions in his recent column, which paints the Zondo state capture commission’s findings in an unnecessarily poor light (“An unnecessary taint of the state capture process”, June 28). Certain unsubstantiated claims and sweeping statements suggest Dludlu has an agenda and is bent on seeing the commission’s report consigned to the rubbish bin. One wonders why.

Let’s deal with some of the bigger issues:

  1. Over the duration of the commission, its terms of reference were tweaked to ensure its findings could be used as evidential material and help make prospective cases prosecutable. Of course, as expected this was seized upon by its critics, who claimed it was being used as a political tool to target for prosecution those implicated by witnesses.”

    Paragraph 2 of the terms of reference (Proclamation no 3 in Government Gazette no 41,403 dated January 25 2018) states that “these terms of reference may be added to, varied or amended from time to time”. So there is no magic to any changes to the terms of reference. In fact, changes were anticipated from the very start, by the president (then Jacob Zuma) who signed them into law. It is disingenuous to cry foul now.

  2. "... since it started releasing — piecemeal — its many volumes, the commission’s critics have sought to rubbish its findings and recommendations as hearsay and nothing amounting to prosecutable cases (only 3%, generously). It didn’t help that recommendations included further investigations after all the costs”. 

    What Dludlu fails to point out is that the vast majority of these “critics” are those who are directly or indirectly implicated in the commission’s findings. It’s hardly surprising that they would be the critics, but Dludlu fails to reference his assertion that only 3% (“generously”) of cases will be prosecutable. Furthermore, paragraph 7 of the terms of reference says “the commission shall, where appropriate, refer any matter for prosecution, further investigation, or the convening of a separate enquiry ... regarding the conduct of certain person/s”. Again, Dludlu fails to disclose that chief justice Raymond Zondo’s recommendations are exactly within the ambit of the terms of reference.

  3. Zondo’s cast-iron excuses have failed to assuage the legitimate concerns of some members of the public: namely, that he was fudging the findings. Worst, the last set of recommendations are so poorly formulated that they sound like a cop-out. Two examples stand out: first, a permanent anti-state capture inquiry; and second, an inquiry into the affairs of the already over-investigated Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).” 

    This is easily the most questionable passage from Dludlu’s piece. On what basis does he assert that Zondo was “fudging the findings”? Who are the members of the public making such allegations? On what basis are these concerns “legitimate”? Even the two examples Dludlu cites are hopelessly inaccurate. Zondo recommends not a further, permanent “inquiry” as Dludlu alleges, but rather an independent agency against corruption in public procurement. This agency should consist of a council (independently chosen), inspectorate, litigation unit, tribunal and court. On what basis Dludlu views this as a cop-out is anyone’s guess. As for the second example, I cite again paragraph 7 of the terms of reference. Zondo refers the Prasa matter for further investigation, perfectly in line with the terms of reference.

Dludlu’s views are ill-researched at best, and his conclusions are inaccurate and poorly conceived.

Mike Wickins

Via email

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