The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture chaired by acting chief justice Raymond Zondo said on Tuesday it would not meet its 30 December deadline to hand over a final report into corruption. Instead two interim reports will be handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa before the final report in February 2022.
The Zondo commission said it had prepared an application to the high court in Pretoria for an extension of its term by a further two months, adding however that it would not need additional funding to support legal fees up to February.
A statement issued by commission secretary Itumeleng Mosala, on behalf of Zondo, said the team had worked hard to meet the deadline, but it was clear that more work was needed beyond that.
“The secretary of the commission assures me that the existing budget allocation for the commission will be adequate to cover any fees that may relate to the commission’s legal and investigations teams up to the end of February 2021 and that it will not be necessary for the commission to ask for further funding in regard to such fees,” the statement added.
The commission, now in its third year, has cost the taxpayer more than R1-billion and been extended five times since its inception.
There are fears it may lead to very little actual accountability on the part of those implicated, but rights groups believe the commission’s impact will be valuable.
Advocate Stephanie Fick, the executive director of the accountability division at the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), told a recent Mail & Guardian webinar that the probe was worth the money as it has improved transparency and prevented further corruption.
“Civil society cannot fall asleep at the wheel: we need to hold those in power to account, even though it is hard to do this while we are all struggling to make a living. Corruption favours an elite few, and it impacts on all of us directly. Perhaps the appointment of SOE [state-owned entity] staff can be monitored more closely to ensure ethical leadership,” Fick said.
Lawson Naaidoo of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) however cautioned webinar attendants that previous such reports had been ignored.
“I think the Zondo commission was worth it, but we will have to see what happens to its report; many previous reports have been ignored,” said Naidoo.