The commission of inquiry into state capture has been granted another three-month extension to allow its chairperson, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, to finish writing his report.
THE COMMISSION of inquiry into state capture has been granted another three-month extension to allow its chairperson, Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, to finish writing his report.
North Gauteng High Court Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela granted the commission an extension until December 31 to finalise its report after concluding its hearings in August.
Justice Zondo was due to finalise his report by September 30 but approached the high court to extend the lifespan of the commission by another three months.
Judge Maumela found that to decline to grant the extension sought by the commission would be unreasonable and would not make sense.
”My own reasoning around is also that it would not make any sense at all after all the work spanning over years just for the commission to complete its work and to distil it into a report. If it were to be impossible, it would not only be unreasonable but it would disadvantage everyone, the whole country, everyone who has an interest in this matter,” the judge said.
In his application, Justice Zondo asked the high court to order President Cyril Ramaphosa, insofar as may be necessary, to take steps to give effect to the order he sought to extend the commission’s term of office to December 31 and the proclamation establishing the inquiry.
“When I made the assessment that my team and I should be able to complete the report by the end of September, I did so on the basis of the time I believed it would take the team to complete the first drafts and the time it would take us to complete the second drafts and the third drafts. I estimated that the third drafts on the various topics or workstreams would be the final drafts,” Justice Zondo explained.
He told the high court that although the final drafts were likely to be ready by at least the end of November he was asking for an extension until December 31 just in case the commission needs more time.
On Tuesday, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola withdrew his opposition to the extension sought by the commission after initially expressing concerns about the cost implications.
”The withdrawal follows a reassurance that the matters raised by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development will be attended to in due course. The director-general of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (advocate Doctor Mashabane) and the secretary of the commission (Professor Itumeleng Mosala) will engage in a process of ensuring that the continued work does not come at an extra cost,” said Lamola’s spokesperson Chrispin Phiri.
– Political Bureau