The first witness in the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture is expected to give testimony on Tuesday. National Treasury Chief Procurement officer Ndleleni Mathebula has been named as the first witness.
Mathebula is expected to give evidence on procurement processes, and if these were flouted in the department.
The commission officially begins proceedings on Monday. The hearings and investigations are expected to take at least 2 years.
Chairperson for the inquiry, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, admitted that there were challenges for the Commission before the process began.
Zondo told the commission that some of their investigators had not been cleared by the State Security Agency (SSA). This was despite assertions by the SSA that it has processed over 90% of the 77 cases it had to deal with. But Justice Zondo says after seeking President Cyril Ramaphosa’s intervention, nothing has happened to speedily clear his investigators.
“At this stage or as of Friday, the report I got was that there is not much that the State Security Agency had done. in terms of expediting the security clearance processes. If there is anything that has happened since then, it might have happened over the weekend, but as far as I know we still have that challenge. And I hope that this will be resolved pretty soon because we have already lost a long time.”
Zondo also told the Commission that other challenges they have been faced with include co-operation from government departments. He says in some instances they have had to ask for the interventions of ministers to speed up the process.
“A commission such as this depends, to a very large extent, on government departments for certain things. It depends on the cooperation of government departments for many things. At this stage there are ministers we have had to deal with, and at ministerial levels those we have dealt with have been very supportive, very cooperative. But sometimes there are challenges with regard to officials.”
Zondo says the work of the commission is extremely urgent and it is important to fast-track the process. The Deputy Chief Justice also welcomed the helpful interventions of the Finance Minister.
“We have had some delays also in the dealings of the commission, with the national treasury over the past few months. so much so that on two occasions I’ve had to ask the minister of finance to intervene so that there could be progress. And on each occasion where I have asked the minister of finance he has given the commission full cooperation. He has been supportive and he intervened successfully so that progress could be made.”
Justice Zondo also reached out to the public, urging South Africans who have any information on state capture to participate in the inquiry.
“People in municipalities, people in provincial governments, people in national governments do they not have any information? Public representatives who serve in different capacities, members of the executive. National, provincial do they not have any information. We urge all South Africans who love this country to come forward and assist this commission in order that we may resolve this problem.”
Meanwhile, the Commission’s Legal Team also used the opening of the commission to outline how it will proceed with its work. Its head Paul Pretorius explains, “The legal team submissions in regards to the findings report and recommendations that the chair might make will address the following questions. Firstly, did state capture exist? Does it still exist? If so how can it be dealt with? Has the evidence shown a series of isolated or disconnected occurrences? Has the full extent of any plan of state capture and its implementation been proven to the extent that harm has been done to the state, to state entities and state owned entities. Can that harm be remedied? If so how? What can be done both in the short term and the long term to prevent a recurrence?”
At the same time, some legal representatives of people implicated in allegations of state capture, have asked the Commission for more time to prepare for cross-examination of key witnesses. Representatives of Ajay Gupta, as well as former President Jacob Zuma among others…. made the request.
Michael Hellens represents Ajay Gupta, “The rules as you are aware and the public should know require us firstly to be given reasonable notice.”
The Commission also heard submissions from Thandi Norman who is a member of the commission’s legal team. She gave a presentation on the different reports which have been submitted, and which will be used. These include former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report as well as a report from parliament.
“Before you Mr Chairperson I will be placing documents which I regard as compulsory documents…”
The first witness before the Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture will now give his testimony. The hearings and investigations are expected to at least run for 2 years.
Watch Day ONE – Part 1
Watch Day ONE – Part 2