Sunlight can be a slow disinfectant
Those calling for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government to quickly snuff out the corruption of the Jacob Zuma era will have to be patient. The Zondo Commission – the judicial commission of inquiry into ‘state capture’ – has until March 2020 to produce its findings about the rot that developed under the previous president. But deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo and his team plan to gather all of their evidence and wrap up hearings by August 2019 in order take the rest of the time to write up their findings.
The influence of the powerful Gupta family of businessmen and their ties to the Zuma government were the impetus for establishing the commission, which has dug into corrupt deals at parastatals like logistics firm Transnet and electricity company Eskom. The Guptas’ role in Zuma’s networks was public knowledge at the time, and the Zondo Commission has provided vivid detail about corrupt dealings. In January, former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi provided colourful testimony and video of stacks of rand prepared to pay government bribes in return for state contracts.
Turnout at the 9 May elections was low and the governing African National Congress took less than 60%, due, in part, to the influence of corruption under Zuma and infighting between the Zuma and Ramaphosa wings of the party. Although Ramaphosa did not get the house-clearing mandate he wanted, he is committed to delivering a “new dawn” for South Africa, and that will mean bringing those accused of wrongdoing to trial and turning around ailing state-owned enterprises.
Many South Africans have been transfixed by the Zondo proceedings and will be waiting to see if there are any more blockbuster revelations when the public hearings wrap up in a few months.
Chief justice Raymond Zondo will wrap up his hearings in August