Probe won’t stray, says Zondo

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo says he doesn’t believe that there is anyone in the government not wanting state capture allegations to be investigated. PICTURE: BONGIWE MCHUNU

DEPUTY chief justice Raymond Zondo said yesterday the terms of reference into the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture should not stray from issues raised in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s state of capture report.

Briefing journalists at the Office of the Chief Justice in Midrand, Zondo said that while President Jacob Zuma had the constitutional powers to “fix” the scope to which the commission would investigate the allegations, Madonsela’s report was the basis from which the commission would conduct its business.

“Everything about this commission comes from the public protector’s report, so I would imagine that in setting the terms of reference, the public protector’s report remains the document which everyone looks at because the allegations that the public protector said must be investigated, you will find them there primarily,” Zondo said.

“But of course you know, the public protector did say that because of constraints of resources and I think time, there were other allegations that she was not able to investigate, but I think that the public protector’s report remains an important document.”

Zondo’s comments come against the background of Zuma having yet to furnish the commission chair with the terms of reference which the commission will be guided by. In addition earlier this month on January 9, Zuma announced the establishment of the commission and that the commission should have broader terms of reference.

Regarding his engagements with Zuma on the commission, Zondo said that he had “no doubt” that the president appreciated the gravity of the situation and the urgency with which the commission needed to begin its work. “The president appreciates the urgency of this inquiry and I think in his announcement he made that clear as well. So I think that the terms of reference should be finalised without any undue delay,” Zondo said.

“At this stage, my job is to make sure that as soon as the legal framework is in place, key appointments are made and the commission starts its work.” The commission chair also said that he would not back down from investigating anyone who fell under the scope of the commission’s terms of reference.

“I will investigate anyone and everybody, no matter who he or she is if in terms of reference I’m required to. It doesn’t matter who they are, it doesn’t matter where they are. This commission will do its job properly. We owe that to the people of South Africa.” Zondo also said that he was confident that he would get all the support he needed from the government on the probe.

“I have no doubt that I will get the support I need from all ministries and all forms of the government. I don’t believe that there is anyone in the government not wanting these allegations to be investigated.”