Three high level witnesses who withdrew from the Seriti Commission in August because they felt it was not doing its work properly have been re-subpoenaed and will appear next week.
Hennie van Vuuren, Andrew Feinstein and Paul Holden said at the time that the Commission investigating allegations of bribery and corruption as part of South Africa’s multi-billion Rand Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPP) would not expose any truths.
“The Commission has missed a historic opportunity to support the struggle and transparency and accountability of the powerful,” the three said in a joint statement released in Pretoria.
Seriti commission spokesman William Baloyi said after their withdrawal the three could be re-subpoenaed. This appears to be the case as all three are down to testify next week starting with Van Vuuren on Monday. Holden and Feinstein are each set down for four days on the witness stand, also starting on Monday.
SA Navy admiral Alan Green will make another appearance on the Seriti witness stand as will former Department of Trade and industry chief director Masizakhe Zimela as the Commission winds up its second phase of public hearings. Both are due to appear on November 3 and will be followed by the final two witnesses – Shamin “Chippy” Shaik (November 10 to 14) and Fana Hlongwane (November 24 to 28).
Last month Commission chairman Judge Willie Seriti told defenceWeb he would be seeking a third extension for the Commission to complete its work. Its lifespan has already been extended by 12 months after an initial year was granted it by Presidential decree.
“The Commission has amassed evidence whose record runs into thousands of typed pages, having heard over 40 witnesses. Resignations have not impeded its work as we now have a leaner, meaner and more efficient staff complement,” he said in response to questions as to whether the loss of personnel had affected its work.
“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.