Delay in State Capture terms of reference irks Parliament’s Justice committee

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Karabo Ngoepe

JOHANNESBURG- Parliament’s Justice and Correctional Committee says its concerned by the delaying in establishing the terms of reference for the commission probing state capture.

Committee Chairperson, Dr Mathole Motshekga, said President Jacob Zuma must issue the terms of reference as a matter of urgency and it must be based on the remedial action of the Public Protector’s report on the State of Capture.

“This matter cannot be delayed any further and a debate around the issue about who is responsible for issuing the terms of reference of the commission cannot be entertained. The Deputy Chief Justice and the President have a responsibility to ensure that the remedial action of the Public Protector is not amended,” he said.

Motshekga said he concurred with Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, that the matter was serious and therefore the Committee feels strongly that it cannot drag on any further as it goes to the root of our Constitutional democracy.

“It must be brought to finality. We feel strongly that the responsibility for issuing the terms of reference lies with the President. The matter must be settled. Surely, we cannot be pleading for it. The terms of reference are urgent,” he said.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on Wednesday said it was processing the publication of the terms of reference in the government gazette. Zuma made the announcement on  9 January 2018 and appointed Zondo to chair it as recommended by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services Mthunzi Mhaga said the legal team started the process of drafting the terms of reference which were eventually signed by the President on 23 January 2018.

“The signed terms of reference are in the process of being translated into another official language as per the legal requirement. The publication is scheduled for release on 25 January 2018. The publication of these terms of reference will be followed by the release of the regulations which give the Commission the legal competence to conduct the investigation. This includes the power of the Chairperson to subpoena witnesses and of search and seizure,” he said.

Mhaga added that the department would aid the Chairperson in setting up the required infrastructure and resources necessary for the Commission to carry out its mandate efficiently and effectively.

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