On 25 January 2018, the President of the Republic of South Africa established the eponymously titled Zondo Commission to inquire into “state capture”, corruption and fraud in the public sector including organs of state.
Rules and Regulations were then gazetted to regulate the proceedings and processes of the Zondo Commission.
One of those Rules is Rule 9.1 which affords every person the right to request the Commission to invite any person to give evidence at the Commission on specific issues that fall within the Terms of Reference of the Commission. Another is Rule 3.2 which confers upon the legal team (or evidence leaders) of the Commission to question persons who appear at the Commission as witnesses.
Rule 9.1 is important as it fosters participatory democracy and active citizenship particularly on matters of national interest such as the fight against corruption that seems endemic in South Africa if media reports are any indication. It ensures that the Commission cannot train its sights only on people carefully selected by it (for whatever reason) for investigation to the exclusion of others who are implicated in alleged corrupt conduct.
Where any person believes that persons not called by the Commission to give evidence and be questioned on matters of alleged corruption, “state capture” or fraud, that person is free to ask the Commission to invite such persons to be questioned by the Commission.
This request is intended as an example of how to go about doing so. If there are people you believe should be called to appear at the Commission, you have a right to do so by this means. The Chair, however, has a discretion whether or not to acquiesce in your request. As with the exercise of any judicial discretion, he is duty bound to exercise it judiciously and not capriciously as that may found a ground for the review and setting aside of his decision not to invite the witness, or the setting aside of his entire report for ignoring relevant evidence in coming to his findings and recommendations.
Among the persons in relation to whom the Request has been made are the President, former Deputy-President, former executives at state owned enterprises and current and former senior public service employees.
The Request includes video material that should be helpful to the Commission Chair in the assessment of the Request.
Read the full Request here Request for Oral Evidence by entire Cabinet as Witnesses to State Capture Commission – 24 November 2020
State Capture Terms of Reference – Original
State Capture Commission Rules