As the commission of inquiry, led by South Africa’s Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, into state capture got underway yesterday yesterday, the ruling African National Congress urged its members and others to cooperate fully with it “so that the country can deal with this difficult chapter”.
“The African National Congress notes the start of the Zondo commission on state capture this week. The national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC in May 2017 endorsed the establishment of such a judicial commission so that the facts and truth can come to light,” reads a statement from ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.
The commission is the result of former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report, State of Capture, which was released in November 2016. Madonsela’s remedial actions included that former president Jacob Zuma must appoint a commission into state capture, whose head had to be appointed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Mr Zuma unsuccessfully challenged this in court, and in January this year, on the eve of a crucial meeting of the ANC’s NEC – which was expected to discuss his recall – Mr Zuma announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry with Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo as its head, as Mogoeng had recommended, saying “the matter cannot wait any longer”.
It was reported this weekend that Mr Zuma would be expected to answer questions. His legal team said at Monday’s proceedings it needed sufficient time to make “meaningful contributions”.
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, who were both fired by Zuma as finance ministers, are expected to testify, as is former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, both of whom claimed the Guptas offered them jobs as Cabinet ministers.
At the start of yesterday’s proceedings, Zondo said investigations were continuing while the commission was underway and called on people with information to come forward. He also said he had trouble obtaining information from Treasury and also struggled with assistance from the State Security Agency to get security clearances.
“The ANC urges its members and others who are summoned to appear before the commission to offer their full cooperation to the commission, so that the country can deal with this difficult chapter,” said Mabe in a statement.
“The commission will assist to ensure that where wrongdoing was done appropriate action is taken and people are held accountable.
“The allegations and reports on this matter have done immense damage to the image of the country and the confidence of ordinary citizens in state institutions. It is, therefore, crucial to ensure that the commission completes its work expeditiously.”
Earlier reports were that the Head of the ANC presidency Zizi Kodwa had told News24 ahead of the beginning of the inquiry that the commission was crucial for the party to rebuild a broken relationship of trust between it and the public.
“Those who have made allegations loudly in public should be bold and courageous and use this important platform to come forward with evidence for the sake of the country. We need to get to the bottom of the allegations,” Kodwa said.
“It includes ANC members and ANC leaders, regardless who is involved,” he said.
Kodwa added that the commission was important politically because there were allegations that executive decisions were not taken by a democratically-elected government but by “certain people, undermining the authority and the faith people have in a democratic state”.
“Corruption is thieving. It diverts money meant for service delivery. The commission must do its work to restore people’s confidence in the state, (and) restore credibility of institutions, including government companies used for looting,” he said. – News24