Nearly one billion spent on Zondo commission, no arrests made yet

Nearly one billion spent on Zondo commission, no arrests made yet

- The Zondo Commission has cost the state R700 million since it began in August 2018

- Acting Director-General Jacob Skosana said that legal fees form a major part of the amount

- The commission has been sitting for two years and has been extended to 2021 but its expenditure will need to be accounted for in the end

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The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, also known as the Zondo Commission of Inquiry, has now cost taxpayers R700 million since its initiation.

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services heard on Wednesday that the commission had thus far cost R700 million.

Several MPs have questioned this amount. Acting Director-General of Department of the Justice and Constitutional Development Jacob Skosana told the committee that legal fees were a major cost driver and that they had instructed the commission to control these costs.

He added that the commission had been moved to a state-owned building for which it didn't pay after previously renting another premises at a high cost.

Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Raymond Zondo

Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa Raymond Zondo
Source: Facebook

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Skosana also said they need strict control in terms of making sure that the commission's legal officers get paid for their input per hour and per day.

TimesLIVE reported MPs also heard that the budget request for 2020/21 from the commission was for R240 million. This request was shot down due to the country’s poor economic climate. The commission was allocated R150 million, said Skosana.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi said one could only imagine what it was going to cost the NPA's Investigative Directorate to "address the avalanche of work that is comings its way" from the Zondo Commission and others. reported that Batohi said the lack of adequate staffing in the top justice departments was a major stumbling block in the fight against corruption and a lot of work lay ahead.

The department and its entities expected a budget cut of R2.2 billion, but in the end it was only R416 million, said News24.

Of this amount, R111 million will be cut from the department's budget for compensation of employees and R122 million from the department's infrastructure budget.

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The Special Investigations Unit will receive a budget cut of R10 million and Legal Aid South Africa R23 million.

The commission was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in August 2018. The commission has been sitting for almost two years and its lifespan was extended to March 2021. No one has been formally charged or arrested yet.

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