Sometimes I thought this day would never come, says Zondo as he hands over final state capture report
Chief justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday wrapped up the work of the state capture commission, saying it had been a tough four years.
“This day has arrived. It has been four-and-a-half years since the commission was established and it has been about four or three-and-a-half years of the hearing of oral evidence,” Zondo said.
“There was a time when I wasn’t sure that this day would come but I am very glad that it has. It is a day when I have the honour and privilege to hand over to the president the final parts of the commission’s report,” he said.
Reflecting on the experience, Zondo said: “When we started with the hearings in August 2018, we didn’t know that it would take us this long to reach the point that we have reached and, of course, we have reached this point not because we completed what were the terms of reference for the commission.
“The terms of reference were very wide. But we have reached this point because if we were going to investigate everything that fell within the terms of reference maybe we would take another 10 years.”
This, he said, was because those terms of reference would include looking at municipalities.
“It has been a long journey and there have been challenges for the commission. But one of the things that I should highlight today as I hand over the final report to the president is that it has been a period during which South Africans have shown us as the commission wonderful support and love.”
He also spoke of the sacrifices made by those in his office.
“A number of members of the legal team went through situations when their security needed to be beefed up because of the work they were doing. But they went on, they carried on,” Zondo said.
He said there was also a time when the legal team and the investigative team worked without getting paid for a few months.
“But a lot of them told me the work was so important for the country they would not leave until there was no other way, and they stayed on.”
He thanked members of the legal and investigative teams for the work they had done for the country. He also thanked the various secretaries that had dedicated their time to the commission.
“I also want to thank the president for the support that he has shown and the executives as a whole for the support they have given us.”
He thanked political parties that threw their weight behind the commission.
“I want to thank my staff who have worked incredibly hard for us to complete particularly the reports, particularly in the last few months. I also want to thank everyone’s families and everyone who has had to do without a mother, a father, sister, brother for some time because they were busy with the commission.
“I thank my own family, my wife MaMthembu and my children, who have given me support throughout. I know that there was a time when because of my work they went through a difficult time — but they stood by me,” he added.
He said the work he was handing over to the president on Wednesday was in two parts: five and six.
“Part five has volumes one and two and part six has four volumes. They deal with a number of topics including SABC and state security, the Vrede dairy, parliamentary oversight is covered and we also have chapters that deal with money flows and how money that was obtained through state capture was moved out of the country.
“There is also evidence of the president, as head of state and of the ANC.
“We also deal with evidence relating to the ANC, we also have a lot evidence about other individuals and the Waterkloof landing as well.”
He reminded the country that he did say that law-enforcement agencies would not be covered because it was too wide.
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