The long-awaited judicial investigation committee for state collection – led by deputy head judge Raymond Zondo – starts Monday in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Former Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas and ANC Member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor are among the first witnesses to be called to testify to the investigation.
The committee will investigate investigations that the politically connected Gupta family offered cabinet positions to Jonas and Mentor, and knew about important ministerial appointments before they were announced. In addition to other allegations, the committee will investigate whether former President Jacob Zuma and board members of state-owned companies have illegally awarded tenders to the Guptas.
READ MORE: & # 39; Guptas offered me the position of minister of finance & # 39; – Mcebisi Jonas
In 2016 Jonas claimed that the Guptas had offered him a promotion and bribe of R600 million in October 2015, two months earlier – when Minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired.
Jonas said that he had refused both offers. Gupta patriarch Ajay denied – under oath – that he had offered Jonas the promotion and the money. However, Ajay did not deny that a meeting with Jonas took place at the Saxonwold compound in his family, nor that an attempt had been made to bribe Jonas. Ajay only said "I was not". Jonas' tenure at the treasury ended in 2017 when he was dismissed by Zuma.
Mentor claims that she had flown from Cape Town to the compound in Gupta, where she was given the position of minister of public companies. In this position Mentor would supervise all entities in state ownership where the Guptas have been accused of plundering the government. Mentor claims that she rejected the offer.
Other witnesses who will testify on Monday include Willie Mathebula, an experienced treasury staff member, and deputy director general Phumla Williams of government communication.
Earlier this year, Zuma was commissioned by the Supreme Council of Pretoria to determine the investigation into state intervention. according to the recommendations of former public protector Thuli Madonsela in her 2016 & # 39; State of Capture & # 39; report.
Zondo was selected to lead the committee by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in January 2018.
Although Zuma is involved in government allegations, he stressed in his announcement of the investigation that the accusations of & # 39; important interest & # 39; and that "the commission should try not only to reveal the behavior of some, but of all those who can make our state or parts of it vulnerable to control by other forces than the public for which the government has been elected."
READ MORE: The complete frame of reference for the investigation of state collection
In March, Zondo announced the members of the committee, consisting of Dr. Khotso De Wee, Vincent Maleka SC, Terence Nombembe, Leah Gcabashe SC, Paul Pretorius SC and Thandi Norman. 19659004] READ MORE: Zondo establishes its own Justice League
De Wee was appointed secretary to the committee, Nombembe as head of investigations and Pretorius as head of the legal team. Pretorius is assisted by Gcabashe, Norman and Maleka in his team.
"The desired result is that at the end of this process, South Africans understand the depth of this state collection problem, so that we as a country do not end up in the same situation (as before).
" Those who have criminal behavior committed to catching the state, must also be addressed by our criminal justice system. That is also the hope of the committee, "Zondo said.
In her report, Madonsela recommended that the committee take six months to complete the investigation, but Zondo stressed that the timetable is inadequate.
At 19 In July, he launched an urgent request requesting that the 180 days initially granted to the committee be extended to two years so that the work could be completed, which was granted by the High Court.
Or the time for the committee to do its job will be extended will be confirmed on October 2, 2018.
READ MORE: Zondo: investigation into state collection can be extended