Hearings into state of capture to start in August

Friday, July 27, 2018

The hearings into the State of Capture Commission of Inquiry will commence from 20 August, commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has announced.

The commission was now expected to last two years after the Pretoria High Court granted Zondo’s application for an extension.

Implicated and affected parties in the President’s review application will be served with the application to give them an opportunity to indicate if they oppose confirmation of the extension or to say whatever they want to say about the extension of period, he said.

“The president and the public protector are also included,” he said.

During a press briefing in Rosebank on Friday, Zondo told reporters that hearings into the commission will start next month with witnesses expected to lead evidence over a three week hearing period. However, the hearings could extend to six weeks depending on issues he did not reveal.

“We are not saying hearings would start from a certain date and end on a certain date. We will be guided by the evidence that will be led at the time. Once we have finalised the evidence that is intended to fall into that session, there may be a break of the proceedings and we will then announce when the commission would sit again,” he said.

While the commission hearings unfold, he said, the investigators would continue with their probes.

“We might have another hearing probably before the end of the year but we will certainly be continuing from early next year,” he said.

The commission recently published rules to govern the commission.

“Our rules are based on various principles including transparency with most hearings held in public,” he said, adding that it would be in exceptional cases that evidence would be heard in camera.

“We will soon publish guidelines for the media.TV would be allowed to broadcast proceedings as it was important for the process to be viewed as transparent,” he said.

“Whatever we do, we want the public to know. We want the public to see and hear what evidence is being placed before the commission. So when the time comes that the report I would have prepared is made public and the findings commission makes, people can see whether the findings are also what they heard and saw during proceedings. There’s going to be transparency. It’s only in exceptional circumstances we would divert from the general rule.

“Implicated parties will be given witness statements, or portions of them, ahead of a witness giving evidence so they can see and know what the witness is saying about them”.

They will then have 14 days to respond to the allegations against them.

“It won’t be enough for them to simply say ‘I deny the allegations’. We want to know what they have to say. The rules will require them to not only answer that but also state their version,” he said.

Those implicated will also be offered the chance to cross-examine witnesses. – SAnews.gov.za