Zondo Commission seeks extension


The State Capture Commission of Inquiry applied to the Pretoria High Court for an extension until December.

Briefing media, Commission chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was confident the court will grant the commission a second extension.

The commission, which started work in August 2018, was granted its first extension last year to wrap up its work by February 2020.

“Originally, the commission was meant to finish after six months we asked the High Court to extend it. It was extended until the end of February.

“The end February date was subject to developments. It is now clear it was not adequate,” said the Deputy Chief Justice.

Zondo said the application of the first extension was based on an assessment of work done and was subject to developments once investigations started.

The detailed terms of reference, which determine the commission’s scope of work, were highlighted by Zondo as a reason for the duration of the inquiry.

“When the terms of reference were framed, they went beyond the ones identified by the Public Protector.

“As long as something falls in line with the terms of reference, we are obliged to investigate,” said the Deputy Chief Justice.

To date, the commission sat for more than 190 days and heard evidence from over 150 witnesses. The transcript of evidence led and recorded is more than 27 000 pages, with exhibits of more than 450 000 pages.

“What I realised through my involvement in this commission is corruption is deep in our society. I believe even with what the commission has seen, it’s the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot this commission has to hear if it wants to exhaust the terms of reference as they are.

“I took the view, with regard to the extension application, there was an outcry for a commission because of State capture and it is in the public interest we bring finality on that as soon as we can,” said the Deputy Chief Justice.

Zondo hopes to wrap up the work of the commission before the end of the year.

“Before the end of the year, we would have come to the stage of writing the report, but if we don’t finish that by 31 December, then we might need a few more months.

“If we are not granted an extension, then I don’t think we will be able to make any findings because we cannot make findings on an incomplete investigation. It would be a disaster if we were not granted an extension,” said Zondo.

The High Court is scheduled to consider the application on 11 February 2020.