The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has called for the judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture not to be interrupted by calls of broadening its scope but to remain focused on President Jacob Zuma and the business empire of his controversial friends, the Gupta family.  

The Kathrada Foundation’s executive director Neeshan Balton said in a statement on Thursday that they “cautiously welcome” Zuma’s announcement of the establishment of the commission of inquiry into state capture, but this commission should not include other cases.

In 2016, then Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released an explosive “State of Capture” report, alleging that members of the Gupta family were using their proximity to Zuma to score lucrative business deals for their companies with State-Owned Enterprises, as well as allegedly influencing the appointment of Cabinet ministers.

Madonsela then recommended Zuma set up a judicial commission of inquiry headed by a judge chosen by the chief justice to further probe these allegations.

On Tuesday, Zuma announced that he had appointed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to head the commission after the North Gauteng High Court last month ordered that the remedial action of the Public Protector was binding and he was directed to appoint a commission of inquiry within 30 days.

“While it is a step in the right direction, we still require details about the terms of reference and scope of the commission. The details about its terms of reference will determine whether this is in compliance with the recommendations and findings of the report from the former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela,” Balton said. 

“We reiterate the views of Madonsela that the commission should focus specifically on state capture under President Zuma, and must investigate the allegations of state capture against the Gupta family. We agree with Madonsela that the President has the prerogative to set up other commissions that focus on pre-1994 cases of state capture. The Zondo Commission, however, must be very specific and not unnecessarily drawn out to include other cases.”

Balton said the Foundation also hoped that the commission paves the way for prosecution of all individuals found to be guilty of flouting the law and disregarding the Constitution, irrespective of what office or position the individual may hold. 

“There should also be immediate prosecution in cases that are clear and prosecutable. We call on the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to stop dithering. The ‘Gupta Leaks’ has revealed much, and in some cases it is not necessary to wait for the inquiry to take place for prosecution to occur,” Balton said.

– African News Agency (ANA)