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South Africa anxiously waits as Zondo set to hand in first state capture report

South Africa anxiously waits as Zondo set to hand in first state capture report..  Three years after lining up its first witness, the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, headed by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, will on Tuesday hand over the first part of its report to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

 

After several extensions, and hundreds of millions of rands later, the report will be handed over in three parts, with the final submission expected at the end of February.

The commission first sat in August 2018, navigating through a myriad of documents, evidence and countless witnesses who appeared before Zondo to give oral evidence. A team of evidence leaders, led by Advocate Paul Pretorius, tackled the vast evidence and witnesses who shared what they knew about South Africa’s biggest corruption scandal in recent times.

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The commission heard how government leaders, their associates and the politically connected decimated state resources through massive looting, with state-owned enterprises left reeling as they bled billions of rands.

Evidence laid bare how power utility Eskom, Transnet,  the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), arms manufacturer Denel, Prasa and SA Airways (SAA) were used as piggy banks by the connected few, leading to weakened state entities and an exodus of skilled professionals.

Appearing to give his findings before the commission, investigator Paul Holden said almost R50bn was stolen from the state to fill the Gupta family’s coffers in an intricate laundering mechanism.

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At the top of the state capture scandal was the Gupta family, who’s influence and power during former president Jacob Zuma’s reign saw them enter a business partnership with presidential hopeful Duduzane Zuma, the son of the former president.

Zuma, who was expected to shed light on how a foreign family and their associates managed to amass wealth from the state under his presidency, refused to co-operate with the commission. The former president instead lambasted the work of the inquiry, defied a Constitutional Court order and indicated that he would not be willing to appear before Zondo.

He claimed that he was unfairly treated by the judiciary, adding that he was not afraid to go to jail.

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His supporters stood by his side until a weekday night in July when he handed himself over to authorities to serve a 15-month jail term. His release two months later on medical parole was preceded by violence and rampant looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Zondo was appointed to head the commission when he was deputy chief justice to Mogoeng Mogoeng.

South Africans will now await the naming and shaming from his findings, as well as his recommendations, in one of the country’s biggest graft scandals.

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