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Tag: Zondo Commission

Zondo seeking to extend state capture inquiry term to September

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said that he would be applying to the High Court on Thursday to extend his term to the end of September.

Zondo said that he was looking at the end of June for President Cyril Ramaphosa to testify.

But if the High Court granted him more time, he would hear the president and five other crucial witnesses in July.

He said that those witnesses included the alleged looting of the State Security Agency and former Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.

“In the course of this morning, I will sign the affidavit that forms part of the application papers that must be lodged in the High Court where the commission will ask the High Court for an extension of time. We’re going to ask for an extension of time from the end of June up to the end of September,” Deputy Chief Justice Zondo said.

Zondo added that he would not end the work of the commission in an irresponsible manner just to satisfy those who said that it should conclude its work.

“I’m going to repeat that. I will not end the work of the commission in an irresponsible manner because I want to satisfy those who demand that the commission should finish. Secondly, to complete oral evidence, we will act properly, we will act in a responsible manner, we will not act in a haphazard manner or abruptly.”

He again commended the staff of the commission and the legal fraternity who had appeared in the evenings and holidays when they were asked to.

State Capture Inquiry gets possible end date

Following almost three years of the State Capture Inquiry, it seems that DCJ Raymond Zondo will soon run the rule of the Commission for the final time. After securing a large cash injection from the justice department on Wednesday, Minister Ronald Lamola told the legal experts that they should aim to finish their work before a court-ordered deadline.

WHEN WILL THE STATE CAPTURE INQUIRY END?

As a direct result of revelations from the State Capture Inquiry, former Free State Human Settlements Department (FSHS) boss Nthimotse ‘Tim’ Mokhesi and former national human settlements director-general Thabane Zulu have been arrested alongside millionaire businessman Edwin Sodi – in connection with the province’s asbestos audit deal.

While addressing Parliament on Wednesday, Lamola confirmed that the State Capture Inquiry is aiming to finish its work ‘no later than Monday 30 June‘ – giving Zondo and his colleagues fewer than eight weeks to tie up their loose ends.

WHAT IS LEFT TO DO FOR THE ZONDO COMMISSION?

Although the hundreds of testimonies have been crucial in establishing the wide-ranging nature of state capture, there are still several issues to resolve: Cyril Ramaphosa is set to give his second leg of evidence later this month, and the Constitutional Court is still mulling on whether it can sentence Jacob Zuma to jail for skipping the Inquiry.

However, it seems there is now little wiggle room for parties to compromise. Lamola has publicly stated that the Commission should be done ‘by the end of June’ – and that included the production of a final report into state-sponsored corruption, something which is likely to be a key component in any attempted extradition of the Gupta brothers.

“The State Capture Inquiry should finish its work by the end of June, It is also in the hands of the chairperson of the commission of inquiry to ensure that it is so, and if there are difficulties, maybe he might raise at a certain point in time.”

Zondo gives Ramaphosa the giggles at State Capture Inquiry

If Cyril Ramaphosa is still available for selection, the Proteas must consider giving the president a call-up immediately – because he has played the State Capture Inquiry with an impeccable defense, offering a straight bat to every question. However, one particular issue managed to sneak through the gate – and it left him and DCJ Zondo in hysterics.

WATCH: CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, RAYMOND ZONDO LAUGH IT UP AT THE STATE CAPTURE INQUIRY

Ramaphosa, who was being grilled on the ANC’s alleged ‘inability’ to respond quickly to the state capture scandal, burst into a fit of laughter when Zondo recalled testimony from Gwede Mantashe. The minister had previously stated that the party tends to be ‘slow’ in dealing with matters of corruption – and that, apparently, was the gag of the century…

DAY 2 OF CYRIL RAMAPHOSA AT THE STATE CAPTURE INQUIRY – LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES

Several complaints have been raised on social media – with some questioning why Ramaphosa is seemingly ‘enjoying himself’ in what is usually a pressure cooker environment. Following his fit of the giggles, Cyril was soon back under the spotlight: He was asked about his own ‘inaction’ as deputy president, while the Guptas looted at will. Ramaphosa replied:

“The ANC didn’t have direct evidence of allegations of the Gupta family’s undue influence or investigative capacity. The Gupta Leaks then acted flood of evidence that required Parliament to start doing its work.”

THE STORY SO FAR…

On Wednesday, Ramaphosa admitted that the ANC had become aware of malfeasance and patronage within the state and within its own ranks: “State capture took place under our watch as the governing party”, he told the Zondo Commission.

Dozens of ministers and former ministers, elected officials, businessmen and senior civil servants have appeared before the commission. And at the centre of the scandal is the Gupta business family, who won lucrative contracts with state companies and were allegedly even able to choose cabinet ministers.

Ramaphosa, who is the first sitting president to testify in such a probe, appeared in his capacity as the current leader of the African National Congress (ANC). The president is expected to continue testifying on Thursday, then return to the probe in his capacity as head of state at the end of May.

 

Zondo confirms ‘bullet fired’ at State Capture Inquiry offices

The State Capture Inquiry has, quite literally, come under fire this week. After a burglary was reported at the premises on Sunday, DCJ Raymond Zondo addressed the media earlier today to confirm a bullet had been found in one of their offices in Parktown. A gunshot had allegedly been fired through an external window.

RAYMOND ZONDO CONFIRMS ‘GUNSHOT’ AT STATE CAPTURE INQUIRY

The shock admission has done little to deter the Zondo Commission, however. It’s business as usual on Monday, with Thandi Modise – the Parliamentary speaker – in the hot-seat. The DCJ, who admitted to being ‘concerned’ by these events, says that the matter is now being investigated by the legal authorities:

“During the week I got a report that somebody apparently fired a shot through the window of one of the offices of the commission. It must have been in the evening and a bullet was found in one of the offices. Of course, over the weekend, there was a break-in at the offices of the commission. The law enforcement agencies are investigating these matters.”

ZONDO COMMISSION CONTINUES ON MONDAY 19 APRIL

Fears about confidentiality have also been raised: With President Cyril Ramaphosa set to appear at the State Capture Inquiry soon, SAPS will have to establish whether this was ‘ordinary criminality’ or something a little more sinister. In a defiant mood on Monday, DCJ Zondo insisted that he ‘would not be intimidated’ by anyone trying to scupper his work.

“We don’t know if it’s just ordinary criminality or whether it’s much more than that. Of course, in the break-in, a computer and a monitor was stolen. I certainly will not be intimidated by anybody into not finishing the work in the way it should be finished. They must know that the commission will not be intimidated.” | DCJ Raymond Zondo

 

Dates confirmed for Ramaphosa’s appearance at Zondo Commission

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be appearing before the State Capture Commission much sooner than expected.

While it had been known that Ramaphosa would give testimony, the commission said it still needed to assign specific dates. Being president and having been deputy president during former president Jacob Zuma’s tumultuous tenure, Ramaphosa has quite a lot to answer for.

Zuma is alleged to have orchestrated a massive looting spree at critical state institutions including Eskom, South African Airways (SAA) and the Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa), to name but a few – all with the help of the Gupta family, his son and fellow comrades in the ANC.

While Ramaphosa has presented himself as an anti-corruption champion, many people have wondered how active he was in either countering it or aiding it. To date, there’s not much linking the president to lucrative government contracts, however the latest personal protective equipment (PPE) scandal surrounding his spokesperson Khusela Diko as well as Bosasa’s R500 000 donation, have raised a few eyebrows.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, that President Cyril Ramaphosa would be giving testimony on 22, 23, 28, and 29th of April 2021.

Zondo said Ramaphosa would be appearing in capacity as head of state.

“I had previously said that President Cyril Ramaphosa will appear before the commission at some stage and that he had indicated that he would be ready to come and testify and be questioned about any matters that are being investigated by the commission once I had determined the dates”

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo

Clarifying the dates, Zondo said on 22 and 23 April, the commission would hear testimony related to the African National Congress (ANC), of which Ramaphosa is president. The president had long indicated that he was willing to give his side of the story and answer to shocking allegations levelled against both the state and ANC.

Zuma Defies Zondo – Let the games begin

It is official, former President Jacob Zuma will not be appearing at the state capture commission on Monday at 10am, despite the ANC’s attempts to convince him to do so.  Zuma’s lawyer Eric Mabuza said that it was not defiance of either the commission or the Constitutional Court.

Mabuza said that Zuma was still waiting for an outcome on his review application for Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to recuse himself and the matter was not before the Constitutional Court, so it didn’t make a ruling on it.

Mabuza wrote to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo just hours before former president Jacob Zuma was expected to appear.  The refusal to appear could lead to clashes between police and the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association, who vowed to protect Zuma at all costs.

Members of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association and African National Congress branches in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday arrived at the home of former president Jacob Zuma and said they were ready to do their “level best” to protect former president Jacob Zuma from being arrested.

Approximately 200 soldiers are being deployed to set up base outside Zuma’s homestead in northern KwaZulu-Natal, and will work in shifts. Their actions on the ground come in the wake of Zuma’s open defiance of a Constitutional Court order to appear before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

 

 

 

 

Zondo wants Commission extension

It’s understood that Raymond Zondo has submitted an application to extend the duration of the State Capture Inquiry, taking the graft probe deep into the winter of 2021. His request has, reportedly, been sent to the Gauteng High Court.

The Commission began in August 2018, when Mcebisi Jonas dished the dirt on the Guptas. Since then, we’ve had the Bosasa revelations, two walk-outs from Jacob Zuma, and witnesses that have infuriated DCJ Zondo. It’s been a wild ride, and it seems the panel wants one last crack of the whip before calling time on their investigations.

Initially due to run until March, the court-filed request would now add months onto this deadline:

  • – According to the papers, Zondo needs a 90-day extension – or the equivalent of a three month period.
  • – That would mean the State Capture Inquiry would run until the end of June, existing for almost three years.
  • – Zondo is understood to have blamed lockdown for delaying the Commission, and there’s a need to make up for lost time.

On Thursday, more bombshell testimony is expected to drop: The witness in the hot-seat is Makhosi Khoza, who famously quit the ANC in 2017 due to ‘widespread corruption’ in the party. She is likely to open up about every element that forced her to step down from her role as an MP – as the State Capture Inquiry considers its next move with Jacob Zuma.

Raymond Zondo and his team are prepared to lay a criminal complaint against uBaba if he fails to turn up as scheduled at the Commission on Monday 15 February. The former president has indicated that he will not be complying with the order, and this disregard for the Constitutional Court could lead to his arrest. Tensions, as well as a kettle in Nkandla, are boiling.

Fears Mount Over Malema and Zuma High Tea

The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema has turned heads this week when he pursued a meeting with Jacob Zuma via Twitter.  Msholozi unexpectedly and suspiciously broke his social media hiatus to agree to a ‘tea party’ with his one-time political adversary, and speculation about the true intentions behind this agreement has been rife.

 

Julius Malema spent most of Wednesday evening pushing back against detractors on social media. One such interaction took place between him and the former ANC Minister for Tourism, Derek Hanekom. The party veteran reminded Juju of the backlash he encountered when meeting up with an EFF member – but Malema doesn’t seem to care.

Criticism for the tea party continued to pour in throughout Wednesday evening, but Julius Malema has never before been swayed by public opinion. He was told to ‘stay out’ of anything relating to Jacob Zuma, and ex-Wits University Principal Adam Habib branded their meeting as ‘the devil’s pact’. Again, the political firebrand retorted with ferocity.

 

While a pact between the former disgraced President Zuma, and the infamous Malema seems unlikely given their history, the pair do seem to have common ground, with shared views on economic transformation and free higher education. However, a new shared philosophy seems to be uniting the EFF with Msholozi – a disdain for the State Capture Inquiry.

Zuma still refuses to return to the Commission, and speculation is swirling about the plans that could be hatched during a high-profile meeting in Nkandla.  Floyd Shivambu said last night that the Inquiry served as ‘factional nonsense’. The possible effects of an alliance between the two could cause a great political shift in South Africa.

More Criminal Charges Against Zuma

The state capture commission under deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, said that it would be laying another criminal complaint against Jacob Zuma.

It follows Zuma’s recent comments that he would rather go to jail than obey the summons issued for him to appear before the Zondo Inquiry. The commission has hit out at the former president, saying that it was clear that he considered himself to be above both the law and the Constitution by refusing to appear at the Zondo Commission.

In a response to Zuma’s scathing attack on the state capture commission this week, the inquiry’s secretary has now been instructed to open a criminal complaint against him.

Zuma was summonsed to appear before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo between 18 and 22 January but the former president said that he would rather go to jail.  Zuma is now scheduled to appear before the commission on 15 February and if he fails to pitch, it would constitute a breach of the summons, meaning that Zuma would be in contempt of the Constitutional Court’s order.

 

State capture: The hunters have become the hunted

The opening statement at the Zondo Commission by former Eskom chief executive, Brian Molefe, triggered a seismic shift whose political implications are far and wide.  The statement effectively upended and recalibrated the whole discourse on state capture by locating President Cyril Ramaphosa at the centre.

The cataclysmic import of Molefe’s statement was not lost on Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who in hindsight regretted not having been privy to the statement. In retort, Molefe pointed out that everything he said is contained in the affidavit sent to the commission in May 2020.

Even before the statement was completed, things changed. The hunters had become the hunted. The Accuser in Chief, President Ramaphosa and his drum majorettes were now in the dock. The heroes had transmogrified into villains.  First, Ramaphosa was reduced to nothing more than a hired gun to do the bidding for multinational companies at the expense of both Eskom and the country.

Under Ramaphosa, Molefe charged, “Eskom management and Glencore were in the process of subverting section 38(1)(c)(i) of the PFMA. The amount that Glencore wanted Eskom to pay for their original mistake of not doing due diligence was R8 billion.”

Second, “Eskom senior managers were being distracted from fighting load shedding by being made to attend endless meetings at which they were supposed to give unending and meaningless reports”.

Third, it was during Ramaphosa’s tenure as chair of Optimum that “the unlawful agreement that sought to increase the price of coal from R150 and set aside the penalties was negotiated and agreed to by certain members of Eskom staff in 2014.”

The Commission was not spared criticism. For Molefe it was baffling that the “Commission on State Capture missed an opportunity to investigate the nature of the cost-plus mines and 40-year contracts”.

This contrast with a company under scrutiny, Tegeta, which “supplied less than 4% of Eskom coal, while in 2015 four other companies supplied more than 80% of Eskom coal to the value in excess of R40bn per annum (with 40-year contracts)”.

In doing so, Molefe forced the country to shift its gaze to the real state capture. Everything before then was mere sideshows.

The Commission misdirection had become evident when another Accuser-in-Chief Pravin Gordhan disintegrated under mild cross examination. Gordhan was shown to be someone wont of dispensing allegations against others while knowing full well that he has no proof. The testimony of fellow travellers, dubbed then to be star witnesses, was found to be at best unsatisfactory and at worse very dubious.

Molefe is not alone in pointing out that the Commission may have misdirected its gaze in dealing with state capture.

Writing to both Zondo and the Constitutional Court, advocate Vuyani Ngalwana SC felt that as an officer of the court, he could not sit idly when in his “assessment, the country is going to ruin while organs of state established to protect and promote the Constitution fail to ask critical questions of people who seem protected from scrutiny and who have much to answer for”.

Ngalwana argued that “the Deputy President during the period that has been dubbed by some as ’9 wasted years’ (May 9, ,2009 to February 14, 2018) should be invited by the Chairperson of the State of Capture Commission. Ideally, the entire cabinet of those years should have been questioned by the Commission on their role in the alleged corruption of those years”.

In dealing with specifics, Ngalwana pointed out that Ramaphosa should “account for his role in the decimation of state-owned entities, particularly on what his interventions were to ’stabilise and reform’ these entities during his tenure as Chair of President Jacob Zuma’s IMC on state-owned enterprises, and where, in his assessment, the failures and successes of his efforts lie”.

Ngalwana is unimpressed that the Commission has not investigated the National Treasury Integrated Financial Management System which reportedly cost a R1 billion. Regarding this, the Director-General, Mr Mogajane averred “basic financial management processes were thrown out the door” and blamed the loss on “major mistakes”.

The failure to investigate this wastage stands in glaring contrast to how the mainstream media made a song and dance about R230 million spent on Nkandla.

Calling for accountability, Ngalwana argues that “a billion rand cannot just disappear, and everybody moves on as ’major mistakes’ were made. That money must have gone to people and businesses. Who are they? Why them? What benefit did National Treasury derive for that money?”

The failure by the Commission to do so is of its own making. It allowed itself to be sidetracked by colourful individuals. As a parting shot, Ngalwana is of the view that the Commission cannot shy away from looking into the CR17 funding campaign.

This is important in light of “allegations of people being appointed to state owned enterprises’ board positions, and others being awarded contracts of considerable value, allegedly as a result of their financial contributions to the President’s election campaign in December 2017. Are these allegations true or false?”

He concludes that without clarity on these issues “South Africans with the good of the country at heart cannot move forward with a clear conscience that corruption is a thing of the past, and that the serving President is free from the influences of big business”.

The submissions by Ngalwana and Molefe have placed the entire Commission as well as the conduct of its Chair under scrutiny.

Only time will tell whether the President, and the Commission can redeem themselves. Nothing short of the Commission’s intense cross examination of the President would suffice.

Denials meted out to a sycophantic media will not do. Ramaphosa’s loud protestations portrays a desperate pseudo-moral crusader who suddenly realises that he will be exposed sooner or later.

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