The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture plans to have its first public hearings in August‚ its chairman‚ Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo‚ said on Thursday.
In his third media briefing since he was appointed chairman in January‚ Zondo also said it was unlikely that the commission would be able to finalise its investigation and present its report to the president within 180 days as required by the public protector.
“At this stage‚ we are planning to have the first hearings in August. We have identified certain witnesses whose evidence can be heard in August‚ so we are planning that the first hearings will be in August‚” Zondo said.
He also announced the public venue where the hearings would be held as 16 Hillside Avenue in Parktown‚ Johannesburg.
He said the commission had been hard at work with a team of investigators preparing to start its investigations while the commission’s legal team was preparing to interview potential witnesses to the commission and preparing the content and sequence of the evidence to be presented to the commission.
“In the meantime‚ we will be working flat out to make sure that this investigation doesn’t take longer than one day more than it should. In doing so‚ we are mindful of the fact that we must do a proper job.
“We will be trying to make sure that we strike a fair balance between not delaying too much but‚ at the same time‚ that we do a proper job‚” Zondo said.
On the issue of the 180 days’ deadline‚ Zondo said with the information it had‚ the commission would need at least 18 months to two years to finalise its task.
“I have raised the issue with the presidency. The presidency is looking into this issue.”
Zondo said one option would be for the court to be approached to vary the 180-day timeframe.
The timeframe was contained in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report into state capture that she released in 2016.
Madonsela ordered that the president appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate matters she identified in the report.
She also said the commission should complete its task and present the report and findings and recommendations to the president within 180 days.