Lady R inquiry’s timespan is over


The six-week sitting of the Lady R judicial inquiry is, in calendar terms, up today (Monday, 10 July) with not a word from Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidency on the number of people asked for submissions – oral or written – or even where the commission sat.

This is in line with Presidency spokesman Vincent Magwenya’s utterings that retired judge Phineas Mojapelo and panel members Advocate Leah Gcabashe SC and former deputy minister of basic education Enver Surty would undertake their task behind closed doors. He further indicated Mojapelo’s report would be for the President’s eyes only and an extension to its lifespan could be requested.

The judicial enquiry was brought into being to allow government “to establish the circumstances that led to the docking of the ship and the alleged loading of cargo and the departure of the Lady R cargo ship from Simon’s Town, during the period 6 to 9 December 2022.”

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise denies South African goods – whether defence equipment or not – was loaded on Lady R while docked at SA Navy (SAN) fleet home port. She went as far as using coarse language to ensure parliamentarians knew this.

Modise said ammunition for South Africa’s Special Forces was delivered by the Lady R from Russia under a contract placed before 2020.