The history of commissions of inquiry hints at what may come of the report, says legal expert
The final instalment of the state capture report was finally handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday evening, and now comes the question: what happens next?
According to University of Pretoria legal expert Dr Llewelyn Curlewis, Ramaphosa needs three months to study the report.
Curlewis said it must then be debated in parliament.
“That will take some time because it is a huge document. Then the president must take instructions from parliament and decide what to do,” Curlewis said.
Curlewis said there were certain recommendations made by the commission chairperson, chief justice Raymond Zondo.
“He must decide whether he wants to take cognisance of them, enforce them or whether he is going to reject them.
“The president will hopefully take guidance from the recommendations and do anything in his powers to set a platform for implementation. He cannot implement all of them,” Curlewis said.
Curlewis said SA’s history of commissions of inquiry shows that not many of the reports come to anything.
One of those was the Khampepe commission into the mandate and location of the Scorpions, which recommended that the Scorpions be added to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Despite the recommendation the Scorpions were disbanded, and a new unit known as the Hawks was formed and placed under the control of the police.
Curlewis said there is nothing in the law that forces Ramaphosa to adhere to the report.
“I doubt whether he will deviate from the recommendations,” Curlewis said.
Curlewis said nothing can stop the NPA from acting on some of the recommendations as they are public knowledge.
“They can proceed. Nothing stops them from doing.”
He said the NPA will have to peruse the report and decide whether there is sufficient evidence.
Curlewis said the mere fact that the commission made recommendations does not mean there is sufficient evidence in court to secure a conviction, where a test for conviction is beyond reasonable doubt and not mere inference.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the president is under pressure to act on the report.
“The most reasonable thing is for him to present a comprehensive plan for the implementation of the recommendations.”
Mathekga said Ramaphosa’s presentation to parliament comes just before the ANC elective conference at the end of the year.