Today Corruption Watch called on Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to defend the work of the commission of inquiry into state capture, currently underway in Johannesburg. This comes in the wake of statements made by Commander in Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, outside the hearings yesterday, during the testimony of Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan. The commission provides an opportunity for all individuals, parties and those in positions of power to bring evidence before the commission to uncover irregular dealings, collusion, and corrupt relationships that have led to the capture of the state. These testimonies continue to give insight into the networks and structures that made this possible. It is incumbent upon Justice Zondo, as chair, to defend the integrity of the commission and to preserve the environment for people to continue to come forward, and not be afraid of intimidation. The role of the commission cannot be under-estimated, as it serves all people affected by corruption at every level of society. The success of the commission is dependent upon individuals continuing to come forward as witnesses to share information in a safe space, and who are instrumental in uncovering every detail of the abuse of power and resources. The public should be encouraged to support the commission unequivocally, and it is even more critical for leaders to encourage their members to give all the necessary support to the commission’s work. The statements made yesterday described the commission as a “Mickey Mouse” show, and accused the chairperson of stealing money from the poor. On several occasions in his address to his supporters, Malema referred to the evidence leader, Advocate Pretorius, as ‘bastard’. This severely undermines the seriousness of the work being done by the commission, and is contrary to the spirit of transparent disclosure that it embodies, and the willingness of witnesses to appear before the commission. “It’s imperative that Justice Zondo use his considerable statutory powers to uphold the integrity and stature of the commission in the face of blatant acts of contempt such as these. Failure to hold Mr Malema to account will see more of this appalling conduct and will severely undermine the credibility of the commission’s ultimate findings”, said David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch.

Contacts:

Phemelo Khaas:       phemelok@corruptionwatch.org.za       083 763-3472