Following the adjournment for two weeks of the public hearings and the reasons given therefor, we have received a number of enquiries from the media about a number of issues, and this brief statement seeks to address these.
Firstly, the main reason for the adjournment was the resignation three days ahead of the start of the proceedings of Judge Legodi. This resulted in the remaining two commissioners not being properly constituted and the defect could not be cured immediately as the President needed time to consider whether the remaining two commissioners should constitute the Commission or whether to replace Judge Legodi with someone else. The President has since decided that the Commission will be constituted for the time being by the two commissioners. See the media statement to this effect released at 19h32 on Tuesday, 6th August 2013.
The second issue that needs clarification relates to de-classification of documents emanating from the Department of Defence and Military Veterans in particular. An impression seems to have been created that due to the fact that no agreement had been reached on this aspect, the Commission was not ready to commence with the hearings on the 5th August 2013. This is not the case. Adv S Lebala SC, who would be leading the relevant witnesses, made it clear in the opening session that his team was more than ready to start. The issue of de-classification of documents would have been addressed during the proceedings if and when classified documents surfaced and it must be remembered that not all the documents to be used are classified. Of course it would be of great help if the de-classification could be resolved in advance as this would minimise the risk of interruptions to the proceedings. It is for this reason that the Commission’s Chairperson granted a two weeks postponement as proposed by Counsel for the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, Adv M Kuper, SC.
Pertinent questions have been raised about the implications for allowing the two Commissioners to form a quorum and thus proceeding with the public hearings. The crisp question is what would happen if a third member is added later on after the commencement of the hearings. The view of the Commissioners on this matter is that this should not pose any insurmountable difficulty. If no addition is made to the two-men.
Commission, that would be the end of the matter. They will simply continue with the hearings and finalise the whole inquiry. Theoretically, however, a problem could arise if at the end of the hearings the two members cannot agree on the findings and/or recommendations. The view of the Commissioners is that they should be able to reach consensus.
If, on the other hand, a third member is added after the proceedings have started, a record of the proceedings thus far would be made available to such member and she/he will then be able to join in the further proceedings. Of course this may require an adjournment for possibly a few days for the new member to go through the record. But this scenario has the disadvantage that the new member would not be au fait with the background information acquired through the substantial preparatory work that preceded the hearings.
Mr William Baloyi
Spokesperson: Arms Procurement Commission
Contacts: 078 095 9477/083 390 7147
Date: 8th August 2013