Potential key witnesses in the commission of inquiry into state capture and political parties have expressed scepticism at President Jacob Zuma’s surprise announcement, saying that they want to see the terms of reference of the commission.

Zuma announced the establishment of the commission, which is to be headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, on Tuesday evening – ahead of the ANC’s national executive committee meeting on Wednesday.

Discussions relating to his fate, are expected to take place at the meeting, amid concerns over two centres of power, with Zuma as state president and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, as the party’s president.

Zuma was vague on the terms of reference of the commission, only saying that it will reach “areas of concern that may not have been reached by the Public Protector’s investigation” because of lack of resources.

“The commission must seek to uncover, not just the conduct of some, but of all those who may have rendered our state or parts thereof vulnerable to control by forces other than the public, for which [the] government is elected,” Zuma said.

Former ANC member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor said, while the decision caught her by surprise,

she was concerned that Zuma was not explicit that the commission’s terms of reference will be according to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendations.

“I will only put myself forward to a judicial commission of inquiry, not just a simple commission, and secondly, one that is formed in 100% adherence to the prescripts of Madonsela and as endorsed by the court,” Mentor told News24.

She told Madonsela during her inquiry into state capture that Zuma was present at the Gupta family mansion in Saxonwold when they offered her a job as a Minister of Public Enterprises in exchange for cancelling the South African Airways route to India. She wanted Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to corroborate that he had indeed recommended Zondo as the sole judge to head the commission and wants Zuma to confirm that the commission will have powers to “bite”.



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