Commission of Inquiry into State Capture
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State

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Background and context of Corruption Watch’s interest in the state capture commission

The work of Corruption Watch is driven by the reports of corruption that whistle-blowers bring to us. The success of the Zondo Commission will, in large part, depend equally on whistle-blowers to provide it with the evidence it needs to effectively investigate state capture. Download an overview of the commission from a Corruption Watch point of view:

Zondo Commission overview and context for Corruption Watch

Testimony from day 2 – 21 August 2018

The National Treasury’s acting chief procurement officer, Ndleleni Mathebula, unpacked the inner workings of government’s massive procurement system.

Ndleleni Mathebula

22 and 23 August 2018

The commission is on recess for two days until Friday, 24 August 2018.

What is a commission of inquiry?

In order to understand the complexities of the Zondo Commission, it is very important to also understand what a commission of inquiry is, its origins in this country, and what level of authority it has. This opinion piece, first published in City Press in November 2016, provides this information under the title Do commissions of inquiry have teeth?.

The short voice note discussions answer the following questions:

  1. Under what circumstances would a commission of inquiry need to be established? English / isiZulu / Setswana
  2. Does the South African criminal justice system have adequate power to prosecute  and convict on corruption-related crimes? If they did have sufficient powers, wouldn’t it prevent the need for establishing commissions of inquiry? English / isiZulu / Setswana
  3. What authorities/powers do commissions of inquiries have? English / isiZulu / Setswana
  4. What should we as South Africans hope for the Zondo Commission to achieve? English / isiZulu / Setswana

24 August 2018

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas delivered extraordinary testimony of how he was approached by a member of the Gupta family and offered a bribe of R600-million to take over as finance minister and work according to the Guptas’ agenda.

Mcebisi Jonas

Jonas’ full testimony

Video clip 1 / video clip 2

Day 4 and 5 – 27 and 28 August 2018

Vytjie Mentor

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor started her testimony by providing context to her early meetings with the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma. On day two she gave details of a meeting at the Gupta home in Saxonwold, at which Jacob Zuma was present, as well as an indication of the lack of interest from ANC leadership at her concerns expressed in this regard.

Vytjie Mentor part 1  | Vytjie Mentor part 2

Mentor has a strongly supportive family who travelled long distances to be with her as she testified. We spoke to her sister to find out what makes this brave woman tick.

Vytjie Mentor through her sister’s eyes

Day 5 and 6 – 28 and 29 August 2018

In his testimony, former GCIS head Themba Maseko echoed Jonas and Mentor in questioning the conduct of the Hawks.

Themba Maseko part 1  |  Themba Maseko part 2  |  Themba Maseko part 3

CASAC to oppose extension

CASAC intends to oppose the extension of the commission’s period of operation. Read the organisation’s rationale here.

31 August and 3 September 2018

Acting DG of the government communication and information system, Phumla Williams, testified that former communications minister Faith Muthambi damaged the organisation to an extent that it will take some time to recover.

Phumla Williams part 1  |  Phumla Williams part 2

4 September 2018

Faith Muthambi responded to Phumla Williams, describing her as ’emotionally unhinged’.

Faith Muthambi

6 September 2018

Justice Zondo heard applications from implicated persons, to cross-examine those who named them.

Applications to cross-examine

10 September 2018

Jan Gilliland, a senior official within the National Treasury, testified that the Guptas got just under R250-million in payments from government for their media companies.

Jan Gilliland

13 September 2018

The Gupta brothers Ajay and Rakesh, who are currently in Dubai, have tried to force the hand of the Zondo Commission by imposing conditions under which they would testify. Consequently, their application was denied.

Zondo denies Guptas

13 September 2018

Justice Zondo has granted Duduzane Zuma permission to cross-examine Mcebisi Jonas, who implicated him in the Guptas’ offer to him of money and a top cabinet position, provided he would do their bidding.

Duduzane Zuma application granted

13 September 2018

Justice Zondo has asked former president Jacob Zuma to submit his version of events in which he was implicated.

Jacob Zuma asked for input

14 September 2018

Former president Jacob Zuma is willing to co-operate with the Zondo Commission. However, he says that his decision not to cross-examine witnesses is being viewed as non-co-operation.

Zuma questions existence of state capture

17 September 2018

Testimony from Standard Bank revealed that cabinet ministers tried to put pressure on the bank after it made the decision to close accounts of the Guptas.

Standard Bank threatened after decision to close Gupta accounts.

18 September 2018

Witnesses from FNB and Absa came forward today to substantiate Standard Bank’s claim of government interference in the closure of Gupta bank accounts.

More banks claim government interference

19 September 2018

Nedbank was expected to pick up where the other three big banks left off, by becoming the Gupta family’s banker – this is the impression that Nedbank CEO Mike Brown got when he met with ANC officials.

Nedbank grilled by ANC over Gupta account closures

21 September 2018

Ajay Gupta, implicated in numerous instance of state capture, has claimed that he never met with Mcebisi Jonas to offer him a R600-million bribe and in fact, was somewhere else when the meeting was supposed to have happened.

Ajay Gupta refures Mcebisi Jonas’ meeting and bribery claim

28 September 2018

The Zondo Commission’s legal team has made an application for the so-called #GuptaLeaks e-mails to be admitted as evidence. In this case, the commission will be obligated to investigate them, according to its mandate.

#GuptaLeaks e-mails enter the picture.

3 October 2018

For the first time since his dismissal on 9 December 2015, finance minister Nhlanhla Nene revealed details of the sequence of events leading up to that day. Nene was reappointed as finance minister on 27 February 2018.

Nhlanhla Nene opens up about 2015 dismissal

Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene appears before the Zondo Commission

Photos of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene at the Zondo Commission. Photographer: Kwazi Dlamini, Corruption Watch.

10 October 2018

The commission of inquiry into state capture has been postponed to 12 November when it will hear the evidence of former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan.

Commission will reconvene on 12 November

12 November 2018

Former public services minister Barbara Hogan, who was named in the testimony of Vytjie Mentor in August, appeared before the commission today and gave details of how former president Jacob Zuma pressured her to appoint a Transnet CEO of his choosing – one who was not as suitable as the board’s choice, and who at the time was involved in a misconduct disciplinary process to boot.

Barbara Hogan tells commission of Zuma’s meddling

13 November 2018

Former Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga, at the time leading up to his departure from the power utility in late 2009, was a chief executive who had gone rogue, understanding that he had the backing of the president. This is the description of former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan during her second day of testimony.

Zuma interfered in Eskom leadership

14 November 2018

Barbara Hogan wraps up her testimony, describing former president Jacob Zuma’s complete disregard for good governance in SEOs, while Mwanzele Manyi gets his day before the commission, defending the controversial changes he made while head of GCIS.

Hogans describes Zuma interference in SAA

Manyi defends the changes he made in GCIS

15 November 2018

The Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture sat briefly on Thursday morning to deal only with procedural matters involving the return of two witnesses, former MP Vytjie Mentor and former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, who testified in August and October respectively.

Nene, Mentor set to make second appearance

16 November 2018 – week 13 overview

After a month-long break, the Zondo Commission into allegations of state capture resumed on 12 November, and immediately gave South Africans much to think about. From former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan detailing the interference of former president Jacob Zuma in leadership issues in SOEs, to former GCIS head Mzwanele Manyi pointing fingers at his successor Phumla Williams, it was an interesting first week back.

Week 13 overview

19 November 2018

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan made his highly anticipated appearance before the commission. Gordhan revealed information that showed how keen the South African government was in 2014 to secure the nuclear deal with Russia.

Gordhan tells of government’s push to secure nuclear deal

Read Gordhan’s full statement to the commission.

20 November 2018

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan continued with his testimony, which is expected to wrap up on Wednesday 21 November. He described the efforts made by the Zuma government to push him out of Treasury.

Gordhan was aware of moves to eliminate him

21 November 2018

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said that a general fear of retribution from powerful people in the state capture machinery was a big reason that many in the ruling party have not reported corruption they see happening. Gordhan finished his testimony and was followed by former treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile.

Gordhan defends fearful state capture whistle-blowers

21 November 2018

Recalling the events of December 2015, former treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile said that in retrospect, it all fits like a hand in glove – that this is how the takeover of departments is designed. He added that a similar pattern of events had happened at the Department of Mineral Resources, which was taken over by Mosebenzi Zwane in September of that year.

Fuzile describes plan to put Gupta stooges in senior treasury posts

22 November 2018

Former finance minister Des van Rooyen’s stay in Treasury in late 2015 may have been a uniquely short one, but it had serious consequences for the department – particularly then director-general Lungisa Fuzile – largely because of his lack of attention and appreciation for protocol and procedure.

Van Rooyen’s disregard for proper Treasury procedure

22 November 2018

Insults and derogatory statements, such as those made yesterday by EFF leader Julius Malema, severely undermines the seriousness of the work being done by the Zondo Commission, and could negatively influence the willingness of witnesses to give vital testimony. CW has called on Deputy Chief Justice Zondo to hold Malema to account for his disrespectful words.

Corruption Watch press statement

23 November 2018 – week 14 overview

A treasury in disarray – this was the main focus of this week’s testimony at the Zondo Commission. Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his former director-general Lungisa Fuzile painted a disturbing – and at times, amusing – picture of the goings-on in National Treasury during 2014 and 2015.

Week 14 overview

26 November 2018

Former treasury spokesperson Phumza Macanda told the Zondo Commission that she, like her former colleagues who have testified before her, had the impression that Des van Rooyen did not know the two advisors he brought along to the department when he was appointed finance minister in 2015.

Van Rooyen in over his head

27 November 2018

“The commission will not consider what is said outside the commission and in media, and anyone with credible evidence should come forward and give it,” said Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, responding to allegations made by the EFF against public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan and the commission’s head of legal Paul Pretorius.

Commission will only consider evidence placed before it

29 November 2018

In December 2010, just weeks into Cheryl Carolus’ tenure as chairperson of South African Airways, former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba sought to impose a private Indian-based airliner on the leadership of SAA.

Gigaba wanted Carolus to relinquish Jhb-Mumbai route to Indian airline

5 December 2018

The commission of inquiry into state capture announced on Tuesday that it had halted its public hearings until January. The date of the recommencement of the hearings, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, will be announced next month.

Zondo Commission postponed to 2019

15 January 2019

Angelo Agrizzi, the former chief operations officer of controversial facilities management company Bosasa, is the first person to testify before the state capture commission this year. On Wednesday he revealed that the company spent between R4-million and R6-million monthly for bribes to senior government officials on the company’s payroll.

Bosasa spent millions on govt bribes

17 January 2019

On day two of testimony from former Bosasa executive Angelo Agrizzi, attendees watched video evidence that showed CEO Gavin Watson and two of his directors packing and arranging stacks of money while inside a vault at the company offices.

Govt officials kept loyal to Bosasa with bribes

18 January 2019

Bosasa – which enjoys a large number of government contracts – generated cash that would be used to bribe public officials in return for their loyalty and favours., said the company’s former COO Angelo Agrizzi on his third day of testimony.

Money laundering the Bosasa way

18 January 2019

Commission secretary Khotso De Wee is on special leave while an investigation into allegations of corruption against him ensues. De Wee was implicated in the statement of former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, who said that De Wee was one of the senior officials of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development who received bribes from Bosasa.

Zondo Commission secretary implicated in Bosasa bribery

21 January 2019

Bosasa, now African Global Operations, was at the beck and call of former environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane for the most part, said Agrizzi, even paying for rented cars for as long as three months at a time for her daughter, during her visits from her studies in China.

Bosasa at Nomvula Mokonyane’s beck and call

22 January 2019

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi says not only is the Department of Correctional Services captured, but the members of Parliament charged with overseeing its affairs have long been in the pocket of Bosasa, one of its biggest contractors.

Bosasa captured the correctional services department

22 January 2019

Linda Mti, former national commissioner for the Department of Correctional Services, continued to benefit financially for his part for years, despite his resignation from government in late 2006. Mti was but one recipient of largesse from Bosasa, which manages the catering and security services contracts at correctional services across the country.

Prisons catering deal was a cash cow for Bosasa and friends

22 January 2019

The chairperson of the commission on inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, on Tuesday announced the appointment of Peter Pedlar as acting secretary of the commission. Pedlar replaces Dr Khotso De Wee, who is currently on special leave pending an investigation into his implication in corruption by a witness.

Peter Pedlar announced as acting secretary

23 January 2019

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi told the commission of inquiry how he and other directors had to destroy evidence when they first discovered that the Special Investigating Unit was coming after the company.

Bosasa’s cat and mouse game with SIU investigators

23 January 2019

The Special Investigating Unit recommended as far back as 2009 that the Department of Correctional Services take action against its former national commissioner and CFO, Linda Mti and Patrick Gillingham respectively, for their irregular dealings with Bosasa. To date, this has not happened.

SIU recommended action against Bosasa, DCS crooks in 2009

24 January 2019

With key National Prosecuting Authority people in its pocket, Bosasa could keep tabs on the progress of the case against the company, and therefore influence its direction.

SIU’s Bosasa investigation compromised by NPA bribees

24 January 2019

Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson allegedly boasted about playing puppeteer with former president Jacob Zuma to his colleague Angelo Agrizzi and former commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services Linda Mti.

Bosasa executives privy to sensitive details of NPA case against them

24 January 2019

Former South African Airways chairperson Dudu Myeni was on Bosasa’s payroll, receiving R300 000 per month. She was the conduit between Bosasa and former president Jacob Zuma.

Myeni, Zuma helped smooth the way for Bosasa.

29 January 2019

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi, still in the witness chair, outlined numerous plans by CEO Gavin Watson and his brothers to buy Agrizzi’s silence over the corrupt activities he had seen and taken part in, in his almost 20 years with Bosasa.

Agrizzi asked to take the fall for Watson et al

29 January 2019

An audio recording played on Tuesday morning revealed witness Angelo Agrizzi making racist, derogatory remarks in the company of other people.

“I am a racist,” says Agrizzi

30 January 2019

From a fake prawn farm and duping the South African Revenue Service (Sars) through falsified financials, to violating immigration laws, former Bosasa CFO Andries van Tonder participated in many compromising dealings in his two-decade career at the company.

Van Tonder corroborates Agrizzi’s testimony regarding Bosasa shenanigans

31 January 2019

Cabinet ministers Gwede Mantashe and Nomvula Mokonyane, and deputy minister of correctional services Thabang Makwetla, were named among those who benefited from home security and general maintenance work paid for by the company over some years.

Mantashe, Mokonyane got free home improvements and maintenance from Bosasa

31 January 2019

Former Bosasa IT head Leon van Tonder testified of his participation in the illegal deletion of files relating to the multi-million-rand catering contract with the Department of Correctional Services, a contract that was in the spotlight of the Special Investigating Unit.

Former IT head told to delete incriminating data from Bosasa servers