State capture inquiry set to launch on August 20

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture:  Gallo Images / City Press / Herman Verwey.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: Gallo Images / City Press / Herman Verwey.

The announcement by the top judge overseeing the inquiry coincides with Jacob Zuma’s court appearance earlier today.

At a media briefing in Johannesburg on Friday, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced that the official start of the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture would be August 20.

Zondo was quoted as saying: “It brings relief to the commission, the secretary and his staff, the commission’s legal team and investigators, since we are given more time to do this very important work of the commission.”

Earlier this week, Zondo welcomed a decision by the North Gauteng High Court to grant his request for an order to extend the inquiry by a further two years.

The order will still need to be confirmed on October 2.

“If the extension is confirmed, we will be able to really focus on our work without having to be concerned that in a few months’ time the commission may have to stop its work, because the 180 days will be up, which has been the case so far, particularly for many of the people appointed to assist the commission or to work for the commission.”

READ MORE: Sanco disappointed at extension of state capture inquiryThe inquiry will probe allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector and state organs.It was sparked by allegations that the Gupta family had undue influence over certain state institutions, as well as their relationship to former president Jacob Zuma, who appeared in court today on charges of corruption and fraud. The inquiry is set to begin in August.Though Zondo has welcomed the decision to extend the inquiry by two years, not everyone is happy about that.

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) expressed disappointment in the decision.

Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said: “We are of the strong view that only the commencement date should be adjusted. An extension must only be considered in the last three months of the allocated 18 months duration and only after a detailed programme outlining the scope of outstanding investigations has been presented.”

In a statement issued late Wednesday, Mahlangu said such a move was necessary to curtail “high costs associated with lengthy commissions”.

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