No Seriti public hearings this week


The Seriti Commission will resume next Monday when retired admiral Alan Green takes the stand as the fourth last witness in the second phase of public hearings.

Hearings set for October 20 to 24 did not happen when the subpoenaed witnesses firstly appeared and remained silent, and secondly, did not respond to re-issued subpoenas saying the Commission had no jurisdiction outside the country. This saw neither of Hennie van Vuuren (on the stand but silent), Paul Holden and Andrew Feinstein, both resident in the United Kingdom contribute to the commission.

There was, at the time of publication, no indication of whether Judge Willie Seriti would be pursuing other legal avenues to ensure the three make it to the witness stand in the Tshwane metro council chamber before the phase two public hearings end on November 28.

Monday, November 3, has been set aside for Green and former Department of Trade and Industry chief director Masizakhe Zimela. Shamin “Chippy” Shaik, acquisitions director for the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPP) and Fana Hlongwane, advisor to former (now deceased) defence minister, Joe Modise, are scheduled as the final witnesses to appear from November 10 to 14 (Shaik) and Hlongwane from November 24 to 28.

Seriti told defenceWeb in September he would be seeking an extension to allow the Commission to continue its work into next year.

He said at the time the Commission had done “fairly well and overcome whatever problems it encountered”, including resignations and “the negative ranting of some so-called arms deal experts”.
“The Commission has amassed evidence whose record runs into thousands of typed pages, having heard over 40 witnesses. The resignations have certainly not impeded its work as we now have a leaner, meaner and more efficient staff complement.
“It has not even been necessary to replace the departed employees. I am confident we will complete our mandate expeditiously and present a thorough report to the President come next year. The Commissioners are fully aware of the heavy responsibility resting on their shoulders in this regard and are determined to do their utmost to carry out their mandate,” Seriti said.