The group of civil society organisations calling for the Seriti Commission to be disbanded has not taken lightly to the Commission labelling them “foot soldiers” for three subpoenaed witnesses who have distanced themselves from the arms deal investigation.
Additionally, the group, speaking through the Right2Know Campaign, is more than willing to take up Seriti Commission spokesman William Baloyi’s invitation to “engage” with the commission on allegations it lacks transparency and will produce a “whitewash”.
“The Right2Know Campaign and the supporting organisations will gladly engage Baloyi on our concerns and to reiterate our stand on why we strongly feel the commission is a ‘whitewash’. We would like to meet at a community hall in Soweto to also give community members an opportunity to ask questions on a date convenient to him,” the Campaign’s Gauteng organiser Bongani Xezwi said.
At the time of publication there was no indication of whether the Campaign’s invitation had been accepted or declined by the Commission.
Also upsetting the current crop of anti-Seriti commission campaigners is Baloyi reportedly saying they “know very little of what is happening at the Commission”.
He also again cautioned people that it was a criminal offence to, among others, disparage or insult the Commission or its members.
“The Commission has thus far been extremely reluctant to invoke the powers it has in terms of the regulations to initiate criminal proceedings and other legal measures at its disposal against people which maliciously vilify it or its chairman but may be forced to do so if the disparaging and insults persist,” Baloyi said.
The Commission’s current timeline means it has to finish its work by the end of November but Judge Willie Seriti indicated a third extension will be sought to enable it to properly complete its mandate and report to President Jacob Zuma.