Africa-Press – South-Africa. Following delays in the release of the final part of the Zondo Commission’s report into state capture and purported communication with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo sought to put an end to speculation.
In a statement on Tuesday, the commission said Zondo wished to provide clarity on the reasons for the delay.
It denied claims that Zondo had met with Ramaphosa on Monday and that the president interfered with the commission’s work or with Zondo as its chairperson.
News24’s coverage of the state capture inquiry
There has been much speculation on the reasons for the delay in delivering the final part of the report.
Some of the speculation centred around the criminal case that was opened against Ramaphosa in which former State Security Agency (SSA) boss Arthur Fraser accused the president of covering up the 2020 theft of $4 million from his Phala Phala game farm.
News24 reported that the final instalment of the commission’s report was expected to examine allegations of criminality levelled against Fraser and other high-ranking SSA officials.
It is also expected to include allegations on the Guptas’ infamous Waterkloof landing, the Estina dairy farm, the Passenger Rail Agency and the SABC.
The report was meant to be handed over before 15 June. The deadline was stipulated in a court order after the commission previously applied for an extension.
On Monday, DA leader John Steenhuisen said it was deeply disturbing that Zondo had met with Ramaphosa ahead of the release of the final instalment of the report.
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“There were extensive extensions given to the Zondo Commission to produce these reports, and I think South Africa and the opposition have been very patient with that. But it now emerges there was an opportunity where the president and Judge Zondo met to discuss the timing of the release of this report,” Steenhuisen said.
According to Steenhuisen, it was “completely inappropriate”.
“Because we all know that Mr Ramaphosa himself appeared before the Zondo Commission, that Mr Ramaphosa himself could well be implicated in this final report. And, therefore, it is wholly inappropriate and deeply unethical, for somebody who is the subject of the report, whose party is the subject of the report, to be meeting with the judge to discuss the timing of the release of the report.”
He added that Ramaphosa and Zondo need to take the country into their confidence and explain the reasons for the meeting and why the report is delayed.
“Because in the absence of that explanation, it’s going to look increasingly like this report is being managed and massaged because the Phala Phala [saga] has now created inconvenient timing for Mr Ramaphosa to be facing any further allegations,” Steenhuisen added.
But Zondo denied the claims.
In the commission’s statement, it said: “The chairperson regrets any inconvenience caused by the delay and the postponement. The chairperson just wanted to have one final opportunity for quality assurance as he was at the JSC (Judicial Service Commission) interview yesterday (Monday) and could not do that quality assurance until sometime in the afternoon.”
With the commission effectively in contempt of court, Zondo told News24 that it might apply for the condonation of the late release of the last part of the report.