By Ryan Brunette, Jay Kruuse and Tharin Pillay
The Zondo report is an impressive undertaking. Drawing on 400 days of hearings and 1.7 million pages of documentary evidence, it is the largest open investigation into corruption in South African history.
Its archive is largely published, and the first two parts of the report are now publicly available. They make recommendations we can divide into two categories:
- Those that deal with the accountability of individuals; and
- Those that speak to the need for institutional reforms, particularly in relation to public procurement policy, whistle-blowing laws, and the governance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
While both are important, here we are primarily concerned with the latter.
The evidence before the Zondo Commission implicates thousands of people. Many of them have been, and will be, referred for further investigation, professional discipline and prosecution (although, whether this leads to convictions and harsh consequences remains to be seen).
Opposition to the report has been mounted on the basis that Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has shown factional favouritism. These accusations hold no water. The report argues strongly and correctly that the corruption that we have seen is rooted in problems that precede former president Jacob Zuma’s administration. The commission transcended factional lines by securing damaging testimony from individuals arrayed across them, including President Cyril Ramaphosa. While Zondo’s duties have compelled him to wade into the morass of governing-party politics, he has protected the impartiality of both his commission and the judiciary. […]