'Inquiry will be able to conclude its work without Guptas, Zuma'

Former president Jacob Zuma has previously testified in the commission, denying that the influential Gupta family had anything to do with decisions he took while he president.
Former president Jacob Zuma has previously testified in the commission, denying that the influential Gupta family had anything to do with decisions he took while he president.
Image: ALON SKUY

The State Capture Commission will be able to make findings and conclude its work even if the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma do not come to testify.

This was revealed by commission’s chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo when he briefed the media on Thursday.

Zondo said the minister of justice and correctional services Ronald Lamola informed him last year that the department was working on trying to get the Guptas back into the country to account.

He said even if those efforts do not yield positive results, the work of the commission would still proceed.

“People must not thing that just because the Guptas might not give evidence, it will mean that the commission did not have a full picture of what happened…It may well be that even if they came, they would not give a lot of information. We would have preferred to have them…they chose not to give their side of the story. Just because they do not state their side of the story, we will not stop the work. We will hear from everybody and make findings,” Zondo said.

The Guptas have avoided coming back to South Africa to account for their role in state capture. In their interaction with the commission’s legal team denied the allegations made against them but could not come and testify.

Zuma on the other hand has previously testified in the commission, denying that the influential family had anything to do with decisions he took while being president.

However, he then decline to return when he was requested to do so, citing ill health.

Zondo said the legal team had applied for him to authorise the acting secretary of the commission to issue a summons against Zuma but that that has been adjourned to all the commission to file a replying affidavit to the former presidents’ lawyers.

“I believe that it would be important that the commission gets an opportunity to hear what he knows about all the allegations relating to state capture. If ultimately he does not appear, the commission will wrap up its work on the basis of all the evidence it would have heard from everyone else and make it findings,” he said.

In December, the commission applied in court to get an extension for it to conclude its work at the end of this year.

 Zondo warned that the commission would not be able to complete its work next month, according to its current deadline.

“If we are not granted an extension, I don’t think we will be able to make any findings… It would be a disaster if we are not granted an extension,” Zondo said.

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