The Commission has noted with concern various statements that have recently appeared in the press, including one or two editorials, that throw aspersions on the Commission’s credibility and integrity. In these statements, a perception is created that this Commission is dragging its feet and conducts its work in a manner that is calculated to prevent disclosure of wrongdoing in order to protect certain individuals within the present government. Of course the allegations have no factual basis whatsoever, but nonetheless, it is important that we respond thereto in order to dispel the wrong perceptions.
At the centre of the allegations is the Submission made to this Commission by Mr Terry Crawford-Browne. A view is being peddled that this gentleman has provided the Commission with sufficient evidence regarding one of the terms of reference, the offsets. Similarly, it is being suggested that the Submission contain conclusive evidence that one of the successful bidders paid bribes in order to be awarded the lucrative contract it got. It is being suggested that there was no need for the Commission to conduct any further investigations and that it should simply go ahead and recommend cancellation of the contracts. This is clearly a simplistic and disingenuous, if not naïve, view of our mandate and can only mislead.
In our previous media statements we made it clear that we have a work programme in place and outlined the various phases through which our mandate will be carried out. We are currently in the second phase, and a sensitive phase for that matter, that entails analysing the massive documentation we have received from various bodies, including the agencies that previously conducted investigations into the very subject matter of our investigations. The process is sensitive in that we are currently interacting with overseas agencies that have investigated the same matters in an effort to gather more information. Simultaneously, further investigations are continuing internally and we are in the process of drawing up lists of the witnesses to be called to the public hearings that will follow upon the current phase. It is estimated that the public hearings will take place in the first quarter of 2013.
We have made it clear to Mr Terry Crawford-Browne and others in a similar position as him that we regard them as important witnesses who will be called to give oral evidence at the public hearings. At that point, their submissions and all other information gathered will be disclosed and fully interrogated during the public hearings. For now we appeal to all interested parties that they should give us space to conduct our investigations without being unnecessarily distracted. Their turn to be heard will surely come.
Finally, we need to comment on questions being raised in the media as to the time allocated to this Commission to complete its work, as compared to the recently established Commission of Enquiry into the tragic events of last month in Marikana which has been given four months to complete its work. The answer to such questions is crisp:
The two Commissions are not comparable in terms of their respective mandates bearing in mind that the Marikana events took place within a period of about three weeks whereas this Commission has to investigate a massive, complex process that has run over a number of years.
William Baloyi: Senior Manager Communication
Contact: 078095 9477 or 012 358 3999
27 September 2012