South Africa 8.11.2018 09:23 pm

Justice Zondo lashes out over state capture commission leaks

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo during a media briefing in which members of the Commission of Enquiry into Allegations of State Capture were introduced to the media at the offices of the Chief Justice in Midrand on 7 March 2018. Picture: Neil McCartney

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo during a media briefing in which members of the Commission of Enquiry into Allegations of State Capture were introduced to the media at the offices of the Chief Justice in Midrand on 7 March 2018. Picture: Neil McCartney

While the source of the leaks will be investigated, it is illegal for anybody to publish any part of any witness’s statement without his permission.

Justice Ray Zondo has had enough of witnesses’ statements to the commission of inquiry into state capture being leaked before the witnesses have testified and he wants an end to this.

In a statement, the judge minces no words, saying the source of the leaks will be investigated, and everybody should stop making leaked documents public.

“Since the commencement of the public hearings of the Commission in August 2018, various sections of the media have disseminated and published contents of witnesses’ statements submitted to the Commission in connection with the inquiry of the Commission before the witnesses give evidence before the Commission and without the written permission of the Chairperson,” he says in the statement.

“The latest incident relates to the statement submitted to the Commission by Minister Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises.

“The same thing also happened with the statement submitted to the Commission by former Minister of Public Enterprises, Ms Barbara Hogan.

“Both Minister Gordhan and Ms Hogan are yet to give their evidence before the Commission.

“An investigation is to be conducted to try and establish the people responsible for the leaks of witnesses’ statements.

“However, in the meantime I wish to draw the attention of all media houses and the public to the provisions of Regulations 11(3) and 12(2)(c) of the Regulations governing the Commission.

“These Regulations make it clear that it is a criminal offence for anyone – and that includes the media – to disseminate or publish, without the written permission of the Chairperson, any document (which includes witnesses’ statements) submitted to the Commission by any person in connection with the Commission’s inquiry.

“After a witness has given evidence in public before the Commission and his or her statement has been handed up at the public hearing, the media may publish his or her statement or portions thereof unless the Chairperson orders otherwise.

“I urge the media and everyone to observe Regulation 11(3) and desist from disseminating or publishing witnesses’ statements or portions thereof before the witnesses have given evidence at a hearing of the Commission unless the Chairperson’s written permission has been obtained.

“I, therefore, trust that, in support of the work of the Commission, all media houses, journalists, commentators, analysts and the public at large will not act in breach of the Regulations and will show respect for the processes of the Commission,” the statement concluded.

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