Zondo Commission - which has cost over R800m - applies for another extension
- The Zondo Commission is seeking another extension until end September, but will the SA government pay for it?
- Legal journalist Karyn Maughan says the High Court is essentially being held hostage and "isn't in a position to refuse"
- However, Maughan says the commission's court application is very vague and makes no mention of how the three extra months will be paid for
The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture says it will ask the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for a three-month extension.
The Zondo Commission's court bid to comes just days before the inquiry was scheduled to hand over its final report at the end of June.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, says it needs to hear evidence from President Cyril Ramaphosa and six more witnesses before completing the oral hearings.
Karyn Maughan, a legal journalist for News24, says Zondo has not disclosed any further details about the other mystery witnesses that would need at least 10 days to make their submissions.
DCJ Zondo says he still wants to call another six witnesses - who he won’t name - before he ends the State Capture Inquiry with the evidence of President Ramaphosa.— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) June 18, 2021
Who are the witnesses you most want to hear from? https://t.co/NPp6RTlQRf
Maughan says the commission has cost well over R800 million yet there is no clarity in the court papers about whether Treasury would support such an extension.
The Zondo commission has been described as the most expensive judicial inquiry in South Africa’s democratic history
During his budget speech earlier this year, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni made it clear that no new money would be granted to the Zondo Commission.
Maughan says the last-minute nature of this application is concerning.
It's being done again at the absolute last minute, which speaks to a kind of administrative know-how.Karyn Maughan, legal journalist
The preceding application for an extension was granted on the basis that we would hear evidence until March and that the report would then be written in the months that followed. That simply hasn't happened.Karyn Maughan, legal journalist
I think the big problem is, having read the 25-page application that DCJ Zondo has filed, there's really a lot of holes in terms of who a). who these mysterious six witnesses are that he plans to call - he says their testimony could take 8 to 10 days and b). where the commission is going to get the money and whether there has been any engagement with Treasury.Karyn Maughan, legal journalist
We are now over R800 million in and one would have expected for there to be some kind of concrete engagement over this issue of funding. There really isn't any in this application.Karyn Maughan, legal journalist
It really morphed from an initial inquiry which was supposed to be six months to look at the issues former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was unable to address primarily because Zuma refused to give her answers... into this ginormous examination of how profoundly South Africa has effectively become colonised by corruption.Karyn Maughan, legal journalist
Source : Kayleen Morgan/EWN