I can start state capture inquiry as soon as Zuma gives me terms of reference - Judge Zondo
Midrand – Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who will chair the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture, says he is ready to get going, but still needs to receive the terms of reference from President Jacob Zuma.
During a press briefing in Midrand on Tuesday, Justice Zondo told reporters that the regulatory frame work - which will give him the power to appoint evidence leaders and investigators - is days away from being finalised, but stressed that the commission could not start until the terms of reference were received.
Zondo said he would have like to have started as soon as possible, because of the magnitude of the investigations, but added that Zuma had told him that his office was still working on finalising the terms of reference.
He said he had "no idea" when the terms would be finalised.
"The commission can't start its work until those terms of reference are in place. I'm aware that, at some stage, there were issues of how wide the scope of the terms of reference should be. There needs to be finality of that at some stage and, once there is finality, we can begin," said Zondo.
"I am ready once the regulatory framework is in place."
Zondo was selected as the chair of the commission by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, as recommended by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who released her State of Capture report in 2016.
This only happened after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria instructed Zuma to announce the establishment of the commission, as well as allow Mogoeng to select the judge to head the inquiry. This after Zuma challenged the recommended remedial action of Madonsela's report, arguing that he alone had the power to choose the judge to chair the inquiry.
Madonsela's report investigated the allegations that the controversial Gupta family had captured the state by having a hand in ministerial appointments and was unduly benefitting financially from high ranking government officials.
Zondo, who met with Zuma before he announced the establishment of the commission, said that, once the terms of reference have been received, he would determine if they enabled him to do his job, adding that the terms may be open to a legal challenge.
Zondo did, however, say that he had been given the impression that Zuma wanted the commission to have all the support it needed, and that he believed government, ministers and the Presidency would give the commission their full support.
He added that he would show no fear or favour in investigating "anyone and everybody, no matter who they are, if the terms of reference requires them to be investigated".
Zondo said he would soon be making key appointments to the commission, once the regulations had been gazetted and terms finalised without any delay, so that the commission’s work could commence.