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Zondo upbraids legal team as state capture inquiry forced to adjourn

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo made it clear he wants no repeat of the problems that brought this week’s testimony before the inquiry to an abrupt halt.

FILE: Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo read the riot act to his legal team after their failure to do their homework properly led to the state capture inquiry having to adjourn until Monday.

Hawks head General Godfrey Lebeya was to have taken the witness stand on Thursday morning, but his testimony has now been postponed until after further consultations and investigations are carried out.

A clearly irate Zondo has apologised for the loss of two days of the commission’s work, placing the blame squarely on the failings of the legal team.

This isn’t the first time deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has upbraided his legal team for scoring own goals. It emerged this week that the wrong annexures were initially sent to Durban businessman Thoshan Panday, the focus of evidence by retired Hawks officer Colonel Johannes van Loggerenberg on Wednesday.

Today, Hawks boss General Godfrey Lebeya’s testimony was postponed after Zondo questioned whether it fell squarely within the commission’s terms of reference, something he told evidence leader Susan Wentzel that the legal team should have sorted out months ago.

“If somebody in the legal team had applied his or her mind properly on the statement soon after it had arrived, this could have been avoided. And as it seems now we are going to lose a day and we don’t have a lot of time. Every hour counts – we don’t have a lot of time.”

Zondo has publicly apologised for the loss of two working days. He’s made it clear he wants no repeat of the problems that brought this week’s testimony before the inquiry to an abrupt halt.