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State capture inquiry is late but welcome

OUTA welcomes the decision by the President to establish the Commission of Inquiry into state capture and is especially heartened by the appointment of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to head this inquiry.

We believe that a judge of this stature will ensure that the inquiry will be handled with the appropriate speed, diligence and thoroughness needed. Previous inquiries were either hopelessly inadequate, such as the arms deal inquiry, or their findings ignored, leaving a bitter taste.

“We do however believe this decision by President Zuma has been unnecessarily delayed, as it comes some 14 months after the Public Protector tabled her State of Capture report,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s Chief Operating Officer. “Thuli Madonsela had to endure ridicule, hate speech and embarrassment in relation to her report, which the President now welcomes as if he accepted her remedial action from the start, depicting the farcical nature and opportune timing of his announcement on the eve of the ANC’s NEC meeting this week.”

We must not forget that it took court rulings to force the President to do what the Constitution expects of him, and that he has lied to Parliament. This is a President who has meddled with and disempowered once-effective institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks, whilst making a mockery of others.

“We trust that the commission on state capture will have coherent and relevant terms of reference which will enable the Deputy Chief Justice to tackle this crucial task. We also trust that the evidence the commission considers will include the documentation and facts that were presented in OUTA’s ‘No Room to Hide’ case document which we handed to Parliament on 29 June 2017, along with other inputs which OUTA and others have contributed to the various authorities and to parliamentary committees investigating state capture. There is also a wealth of evidence from whistleblowers and the media,” says Theron.

“We hope that this inquiry will not be used by Hawks, the police and the NPA as an excuse to suspend work on criminal prosecutions arising from state capture activities.”

OUTA believes the President’s decision to appoint this commission is merely a tactic to buy himself more time in the Presidency and that the ANC’s NEC should not be fooled by this move. Instead, we urge the NEC move swiftly to recall Zuma as President and thereby kickstart the reclamation of South African from the destruction of corruption.

“We thank Deputy Chief Justice Zondo for taking on this onerous but essential task and call on the Department of Justice to ensure he has all the resources he needs,” says Theron.

 

Here are sound clips with brief comment on this:

In English: Ben Theron, OUTA COO

In Afrikaans: Ben Theron, OUTA COO

In isiZulu: Dominique Msibi, OUTA Portfolio Manager for Social Services and Special Projects

In Sepedi: Agnes Mbaye, OUTA intern

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