Zondo commission to consider sitting in the evenings, adding extra hours

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond 'Ray' Zondo greets the commission before hearing testimony from Trevor Manuel and Siphiwe Nyanda, 28 February 2019. Picture: Karen Sandison / African News Agency (ANA)

The commission’s chair says this would be done to ensure that the commission’s work is concluded by 31 March 2021.

The chairperson of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said on Wednesday that witnesses could be asked to testify in the evenings and the proceedings could add “extra hours” during the day, all in the interest of ensuring that the commission concludes it works within the time frame it has.

Zondo made the announcement after he granted applications for postponement made by former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride and advocate JP Pretorius.

On Monday, Zondo adjourned McBride’s cross-examination by former minister of police Nathi Nhleko‘s counsel.

Zondo said on Wednesday the commission was determined to finish its work within the time it has been given, which means “soon”, witnesses may be required to appear during evening sessions that would start at 4pm and go up to 7pm and that the commission could now get underway from 9 am, as opposed to the usual 10am, and add extra hours and end at 5pm or 6pm, instead of the usual 4pm.

“As  I grant postponements, I want people to understand we are in that situation,” Zondo said, adding that this would be done in the interest of finding more time, which he said could “be very helpful” and that he does not want witnesses “to be surprised” when notices indicate that they should appear at 4pm.

Earlier this year, the High Court in Pretoria granted the commission an extension to 31 March 2021, which was marked as a final extension. This was the second extension the commission was granted.

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services heard in early July that the commission had thus far cost R700 million.

Advocate Pretorius was expected to cross-examine McBride and former Hawks boss General Johan Booysen.

Zondo said the dates for these cross-examinations are yet to be determined but they would be set for after three weeks from now.

Nhleko is expected to wrap up his testimony at the commission on Wednesday.

Watch the proceedings live courtesy of the SABC:

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