Paul O’Sullivan: The Zondo Commission missed the mark

Ace forensic investigator and founder of Forensics for Justice, Paul O’Sullivan, spoke to BizNews founder Alec Hogg about the Zondo Commission’s investigation officially coming to an end. As is custom, O’Sullivan didn’t mince his words and expressed sadness that the Zondo Commission had been given the opportunity to expose the faults of the South African criminal justice system and failed to do so. He also vehemently stated that he “absolutely has a plan of action”. O’Sullivan is not afraid to name names and does just that in this fascinating interview.

Paul O’ Sullivan on the official end of the Zondo Commission with the release of Volume VI 

 I guess that’s the end of it.  I’ve been looking at the media and some people have commented about they missed this and they missed that and they missed the other. But for me, the biggest part that they missed, having spent probably well over 100 million rand of taxpayers’ money, is probably more on the investigations and witnesses they led in respect of the criminal justice system. And that’s the money that they spent now. Probably another hundred million that was spent by the state attorney’s office, because every person that was cited in the criminal justice system, for example, a whole lot of generals, a whole lot of prosecutors, all those people were given notices to attend the Zondo Commission. And for the most part, only two or three of them actually attended. But the rest of them had to prepare affidavits and they all went and got free lawyers to assist them in preparing those affidavits. And then in a lot of those cases, those people who responded with lies, they put lies in oath. And everyone says, oh, you know, they’re getting away with it. I’m saying they should be charged with perjury because they’ve lied through their teeth. Now, some of them, they didn’t actually get on the stand at all. 

But I’ve seen their affidavits because some of these disingenuous individuals, people like Torey Pretorius and Michael Masuka from the NPA and then people like Lucky Montana, well, he got on the stand and made a complete fool of himself. But these people lied through their teeth and the lies that they put to the Zondo Commission were of such a nature that they cast aspersions on people like myself. Anwa Dramat, Robert McBride, Johann Booysen, you know, they tried to paint us as being the real criminals and them as the innocent party being victimised for doing their job.

On the Criminal Justice system being omitted from the investigation

That’s part of the problem. I opened a docket in October 2012. In May 2012, I wrote to Yusuf Abramjee who was then the chairman or president of the Pretoria Press Club. We notified the media about the expression: “State capture” as it didn’t exist then. We just said that there were a group of individuals and we named them. Richard Mdluli we saw as being at the top end of it. Nomcobo Jiba, Lawrence Mrwebi. We named those three men and a few others. Prince Makhwathana, we named them and we opened a docket after we pointed out that they were trying to take control of the criminal justice system for nefarious reasons. Now, as I’ve said, the expression “State Capture” didn’t exist, but then in 2015 or 2016, I think it was, we published a report together with Afriforum called Joining the Dots. Now, that report was quite damning because it set out chapter and verse as to how state entities in the criminal justice system had been taken control of and we named SARS – the investigative capability of SARS, the criminal investigation side of SARS – which in itself is a law enforcement agency because, as you know, they’ve got customs officers. They’re part of the law enforcement agency. We named them. We named the DPCI or Hawks, as we colloquially call them. And we named the police and we named the National Prosecuting Authority. 

We named the individuals involved in the takeover. By that stage, we were calling it capture, I think. But we named the people that were involved in capturing these entities and we were able to draw a line back. We could see that a big plan started back in 2012. So the conception, if you like, was that you must get control of all the criminal justice system, because once you’ve got control of the criminal justice system, then you’re free to loot the country. And that’s exactly what happened. They took control of the criminal justice system, and then they literally gutted or eviscerated all of these state owned businesses, for example, PRASA, Transnet, SABC, South African Airways, all of Denel, all of these companies were raped and dropped by these criminal syndicates. Nobody was able to do anything about it. And the reason nobody was able to do anything about it was because the criminal justice system was being controlled by Zuptoids and we named them. 

‘The criminals were running the criminal justice system’

You don’t find any proper investigation. I received letters. I brought applications. Myself and Sarah-Jane Trent spent two and a half years putting documents together for the Zondo Commission we handed to them on a plate. Some of the best witnesses they ever had, even though they might be criminals. People like Angelo Agrizzi. He approached us in October 2017. We packaged him up and handed him over to the Zondo Commission, and he put his stuff out there. He testified under oath and he named and shamed all the people.  

I wanted to interview people like Lucky Montana. I wanted to cross-examine him on the lies that he was putting out at the commission. They accused me of sending people with balaclavas to rough up his house. Absolute rubbish. Complete pack of lies. I wanted to unpack all of that. And I also wanted to cross-examine Torey Pretorius. I wanted to cross-examine Michael Masuka because I wanted to cross-examine some of these generals that were involved in raiding my offices and got up on the Zondo Commission’s stand and lied through their teeth. So when I put in all these applications, I wanted to cross-examine them. They delayed replying to me and then they told me, I must come there some time last year, in August or September, and I must be there to have my application and argue my applications. And they wanted me to get a lawyer and I said, Why should I get a lawyer? You’re providing free lawyers to all the accused persons. But nobody’s provided me with any lawyers.? Why must I spend my money to come and tell these criminals what they’ve been up to?

Weeks and weeks and weeks were wasted. A whole workstream. I think that’s the expression they used, a whole workstream was created to deal with the criminal justice system. Millions and millions and millions of rands were spent on dealing with the criminal justice system. And yet there are no findings, there are no reports that say the criminal justice system was captured. It was the precursor to state capture because these guys realised that if you had people like Anwar Dramat in the DPCI, if you had those people sitting in their offices, the first thing they would do when they saw what was going on with state capture is go out with their handcuffs and pull a few of them in. Well, none of that happened. And the reason none of it happened was because the criminals were running the criminal justice system. 

On if there is any plan of action for the end of the Commission

We actually absolutely have a plan of action. I’ve been in close communication with Shamila Batohi and Andrea Johnson. These are very good people, ethical people. They’re not puppets being played by any political party or any political individual. They understand what the functions are. And we’ve been working very closely with them. My problem now at the moment is the police service is rotten to the core. The DPCI is now being led by Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, but there are people below him that need to be chased out of their jobs. So there is a lot of cleaning up to be done. And if so, the commission is abandoning the investigation of the criminal justice system. Then I guess what we need is a judicial commission of inquiry to get all this stuff out into the open. And we might even bring an application for a judicial commission of inquiry so that we can get to the bottom of these things. I made the point a hundred times in the last six months, and I make the point again today that if we had a properly working, functioning criminal justice system between 2012 and today, state capture would never have been possible because the people would have been arrested, the Guptas would have been arrested. All of these people that were taking kickbacks, they would have all been behind bars. You wouldn’t have seen people like Shaun Abrahams leapfrogging competent prosecutors to become the NDP director. You wouldn’t have seen people like Anwar Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya and Johann Booysen being kicked out of the DPCI. You wouldn’t have seen people like Khomotso Phahlane being put in charge of the police. 

 And I’m saying we need an inquiry not only to understand what happened, but to investigate every single appointment at the rank of brigadier and above, in the police service and the DPCI in the last ten years to make sure that the sleepers that were planted by Zuma are got rid of. And we know there’s plenty of them there. Those sleepers need to go. The sleepers in the prosecution service need to be identified and need to be gotten rid of. And the Zondo Commission, which we were hoping was going to be the great exposure of all this, they didn’t do anything.

All they did was allow some of these criminals to get up there and lie through their teeth at taxpayers’ expense with three lawyers. They could have saved a couple of hundred million rand. You know, we talk about Lucky Montana. Montana has been thumbing his nose at this country for the last seven years. We opened the docket in 2015, I think it was on September 20. It’s nearly seven years. It’s been six years and ten months since we opened that docket. That docket is on our website. It contains prima facie evidence of the crimes he committed. Those crimes were aired again in front of the Zondo Commission, and the report released now patently shows that our investigation was bang on the mark. And yet in the last seven years, nothing has happened.

Also read:

The back story to ‘Stop Me If You Can’: Paul O’Sullivan on his new book

Fed up SAs speak: supporting Paul O’Sullivan on the Al Capone approach

Paul O’Sullivan on Zondo: Time for the Al Capone approach – here’s how NPA can quickly put Myeni and Co behind bars

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