The department of justice will on Thursday announce the terms of reference for the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.
President Jacob Zuma announced the establishment of the commission 16 days ago, but without any clear mandate. The commission will be led by Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo. In his announcement, Zuma intimated that the commission's mandate should extend beyond state capture and that nobody should be spared if there are suspicions that they might have influenced the state.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela's report into state capture, titled "State of Capture", gave clear guidelines on how the commission should proceed. This was confirmed last year by a High Court judgment that the commission should be established as a matter of urgency. Madonsela was clear in her vision that her report needed to be future-proofed from political intervention once she left office. Many believe the decision to kick the investigation upstairs -- into the office of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng -- was a political masterstroke.
If the big 11 issues that Madonsela identified in "State of Capture" are not addressed in the terms of reference, Zondo will have a difficult task of getting to the bottom of the rot. But, the deputy chief justice won't be taken for a fool and seems determined to seek accountability.
THE ISSUES THE ZONDO COMMISSION MUST INVESTIGATE, ACCORDING TO 'STATE OF CAPTURE'
1. Did Zuma violate the Executive Ethics Code by allowing his son Duduzane and the Guptas to be involved in the process of the removal and appointment of a minister of finance in December 2015?
2. Did the president improperly involve Duduzane and the Guptas in the removal and appointment of other members of Cabinet?
3. Did the president, equally, allow Duduzane and the Guptas to involve themselves in the process around the appointment of board members to state-owned enterprise (SOEs) such as Eskom?
4. Did the president turn a blind eye to alleged corrupt practices by Duduzane and the Guptas when they promised ministerial positions to individuals?
5. Did the president and some of his ministers improperly interfere in the relationship between the Guptas and commercial banks on a matter that is the domain of regulatory bodies?
6. Did the president expose himself to situations where there were conflicts of interests, and did he use his position to the advantage of Duduzane and the Guptas' business interests?
7. Was anyone, such as the former deputy minister of finance, Mcebisi Jonas, prejudiced by the president's conduct?
8. Did anyone in the public service or anyone else act unlawfully, improperly or corruptly in connection with the removal and appointment of ministers or boards and directors of SOEs?
9. Was there corruption involved in the awarding of state tenders to the Guptas, their companies or anyone else linked to them? This includes the Tegeta deal.
10. Did anyone in government or any other state institution unlawfully, improperly or illegally receive gifts from the Guptas or their associates?
11. Were Glencore and others prejudiced by Eskom's actions when it helped Tegeta obtain Optimum coal mine? Did Eskom's board act solely for the benefit of Tegeta and the Guptas?