South Africa: Zondo refuses DA Request to cross witnesses in state inquiry

The chairman of the judicial investigation committee for state collection, deputy chief judge Raymond Zondo, rejected the application of the public prosecutor to gain access to witnesses and to take part directly in the proceedings that starts on Monday.

The DA wanted access to all non-confidential data formally submitted to the committee, the right to question witnesses and the right to argue in writing and orally at the conclusion of the commission.

In a seven-page statement, Zondo said that the DA, like any other public, could contribute to the work of the committee and would have access to all documents that were presented at a public hearing. presented.

However, it would be excluded from access to evidence The committee is considered confidential.

"The DA, like any other member of the public, is free to submit relevant legal evidence to the committee's legal team, through the secretary of the committee, for consideration as evidence for the chairman of the committee but his request to present such evidence directly to the committee during a hearing is rejected, "Zondo said.

The committee investigates allegations that the politically connected Gupta family had undue influence on former President Jacob Zuma on the appointment of government ministers and on state-owned enterprises.

However, the deputy main court said that the opposition could be party to the committee's legal team to request the committee to call witnesses. 19659008] "If the committee's legal team decides not to present that witness or witnesses to the committee to testify and the DA is disadvantaged by that decision, she may request the chairman of the committee for his decision on the request, "said Zondo.

He also rejected the request of the public prosecutor to argue in writing and orally at the end of the proceedings. However, he granted the party leave to resubmit his request at a later stage, if this were still to happen.

The committee has yet to release a list of witnesses.

News24, however, has learned that the witnesses include former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor, former Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) CEO Themba Maseko and former vice minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas.

Jonas publicly admitted that the Gupta family had offered him R600m if he accepted the post of Finance Minister, replacing Nhlanhla Nene, in 2015.

Nene was later dismissed by Zuma and replaced by Des Van Rooyen, who stayed in the job for only three days. Zuma was pressured to fire him, and he appointed Pravin Gordhan Minister of Finance.

Mentor had also claimed that Zuma was in the Gupta Saxonwold mansion when the family offered her the position of state enterprise minister in exchange for cutting the SAA & # 39; s lucrative route to India in favor of the Jet Airways of the Guptas.

Source: News24

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