Parliament hits back at Chief Justice Zondo

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Parliament has hit back at Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who is the former chairperson of the State Capture Commission, saying his remarks criticising parliament undermined the principles of the separation of powers.

Justice Zondo accused parliament of failing to implement some of the commission’s recommendations.

Zondo told a seminar at the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria that even if another episode of state capture were to take place, parliament would not be able to stop it.

Justice Zondo has also called for the establishment of a permanent state capture commission.

Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, says, “Parliament expresses shock and strong objection to the remarks made by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, former head of the judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of State Capture, about parliament. It is inappropriate for the chief justice, representing one of the arms of the state, to engage in public attacks on parliament. We note also that the attacks are directed at the executive in so far as the current policy position of the electoral system is concerned.

Zondo concerned about the risk of another state capture possibly taking place:

Justice Zondo says the establishment of a permanent State Capture Commission would help in holding public figures accountable.

“If parliament won’t be able to protect the interests of the people, if there are attempts at another state capture, who will protect the people? There should be a standing anti-state capture and anti-corruption commission that works the same way as the commission that I was honoured to chair, which can call anybody, whether it’s the president or any member of parliament or any minister to come and answer questions where there are allegations of corruption and state capture,” says Zondo.

HSRC hosts colloquium with Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on State Capture Commission:

Zondo says state capture has placed the country’s democracy at risk. Zondo has warned against other forms of a subtle state capture that does not include the capture of all three arms of the state.

President Cyril Ramaphosa submitted the report to parliament last year along with the government’s response to the report.

State Capture saw the infiltration of strategic positions for the gain of the Gupta family and the hollowing out of state resources.

Zondo says the influence of a head of state for the interests of only a few amounts to state capture.

“The capture of the state does not require that all the three arms of state be captured. If an individual or group of individuals have as strong an influence on the head of state as did the Guptas and that influence is used, not for the head of state to make decisions that are lawful and serve the interests of the people, but that serve the interests of only some individuals or group of individuals or entities then that, in my view, is still state capture.”

Zondo has raised concern over the lack of measures by parliament to prevent another State Capture in the country. Zondo says the lack of implementation is alarming.

The report made 353 recommendations. In it, Zondo made damning findings against Parliament for failing in its oversight role in holding the executive accountable during former President, Jacob Zuma’s era – a finding Parliament is expected to rectify.

However, the Chairperson of the State Capture Commission says he fears that there will be no implementation of the recommendations of the report with an election year looming.

“Just as it happened before, it can still happen because we have not put measures in place that could prevent it from happening. So, until we put in place such measures, it can happen. We have got in the report various recommendations that we have made and we are still waiting for implementation. I think in regard to some, there is some work that is happening but one would have thought that a year after the commission’s final report that much would have happened and my fear is that since next year is an election year, soon government, members of parliament, politicians will start campaigning for next year’s elections and we might not see a lot of implementation of the recommendations,” explains Zondo.

There have been several arrests made in relation to the report. Earlier this year former Transnet Group Chief Executive, Brian Molefe and former Finance Head, Anoj Singh were arrested on charges relating to the over R90 million which Transnet paid Trillian for organising a R30 billion club loan to help buy over 1000 locomotives in 2015.

The country has also seen the arrests of alleged associates such as Iqbal Sharma, Angelo Agrizzi and Siyabonga Gama on various matters.