civil society working group on state capture

The Civil Society Working Group on State Capture is a coalition of over 23 civil society organisations. The mandate of the working group has been to both support and strengthen the work of the Zondo Commission (State Capture Commission of Inquiry) while maintaining oversight over the commission in the interests of the public. The working group has achieved this through various means using advocacy, engagement with the commission and by making over 15 evidence-based submissions to the commission. In addition to this, the Working Group successfully held the first People’s Hearing on State Capture which was created to openly engage with the public and hear evidence of how state capture has impacted on lives.The findings made by the panel presiding over the People’s hearing were shared with the commission in November 2019 and serves as a powerful reminder to all of what the human cost of state capture has and continues to be.

In February 2020, the working group submitted an Agenda for Action: Joint submission with recommendations geared at strengthening the findings of the commission and notably calls on Judge Zondo to release an interim report given its extension-this will assist to bolster accountability.

The working group continues to advocate for the implementation of its joint submission recommendations as well as maintain oversight over the commission, law enforcement agencies and the private sector “enablers of state capture”.

Open Secrets acts as the secretariat of the Civil Society Working Group on State Capture.


joint submission to the zondo commission: an agenda for action

This Agenda for Action is based on detailed submissions made to the Zondo Commission by organisations of the Working Group covering the widespread impact of state capture on lives of people in South Africa. The Agenda for Action summarises recommendations that can hopefully serve as a roadmap during the next years of critical areas of reform within the South African state and private sectors. This submission was prepared at a time when these and other civil society organisations were deeply concerned about the impact of state capture on the lives of millions of people. The human cost of state capture and its contribution to deepening poverty and inequality provides the necessary urgency for the reforms set out in this submission.


An Agenda for Action

by Civil Society Working Group on State Capture

civil society submissions to zondo commission

*some submissions are not available for download at this stage as they contain sensitive information

AIDC: The Tax Consequences of State Capture and Reform Proposals

by Dominic Brown and Erwan Malary

The submission draws from the Nugent Commission of Inquiry, evaluates the consequences and causes of the capture of tax institutions not merely as a matter of bad individuals but as matter of weak institutions.


State capture and the political manipulation of criminal justice agencies

by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Corruption Watch

This joint submission is concerned with the manipulation of criminal justice agencies by the Executive under the administration of former president Jacob Zuma. This manipulation was a critical factor in entrenching state capture.


The Enablers by Open Secrets and Shadow World Investigations

The bankers, accountants, lawyers and consultants that cashed in on state capture.

This submission was presented to the Zondo Commission on the 4th of February 2020.


Estina/Vrede Integrated Dairy Project

by Shadow World Investigations

This is the first of two submissions to the Zondo Commission by Shadow World Investigations


Equal Education, the Equal Education Law Centre & SECTION27

This joint submission focuses specifically on issues related to the misappropriation and
misuse of public funds which should have been geared towards the provision of basic


OUTA State Capture Portfolio

OUTA’s State Capture Portfolio addresses the performance of Government, its respective departments and its state owned entities in the delivery of service to society.

OUTA's submissions are on Home Affairs, Eskom and Denel


Recommendations on the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa

by the Africa Criminal Justice Reform and the Dullah Omar Institute


Appointment of board directors to state-owned enterprises

by the Dullah Omar Institute

The DOI submission argues SOE Boards represent both a critical layer of accountability and oversight over the entities’ administration and the all-important link between the state and the SOEs.


South African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute (SAFCEI) – Nuclear Energy

This submission argues that major energy procurement projects need independent oversight at all stages – pre-procurement, procurement and post-procurement – to prevent further state capture.


by Section 27 and the Treatment Action Campaign

This submission aims to illustrate that corruption has a direct impact on people’s constitutional rights to access health care services.

This submission aims to illustrate that corruption has a direct impact on people’s constitutional rights to access health care services.

people's hearing on state capture

The People’s Hearing on State Capture, held on the 12th of October 2019 at Constitution Hill, was a public forum where members of the public, community leaders and activists were invited to reflect on the impact of state capture, either in person or through videos. Alongside this, documentary shorts produced by civil society organisations formed part of the evidence heard on people’s experiences of state capture.

This civil society hearing was not intended to detract from the work of the Zondo Commission. Rather it served as a powerful reminder that state capture has left ordinary people poorer. The People’s Hearing supported efforts to hold the beneficiaries of this form of corruption – in both business and the state – to account through legal mechanisms such as the Zondo Commission on State Capture.

This hearing was organised by the Civil Society Working Group on State Capture.

judges panel

nonhle mbhutuma

Nonhle Mbuthuma is a human rights defender working for indigenous peoples’ rights, land rights, and environmental rights in the Xolobeni region of the Eastern Cape. She is also the founder and spokesperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee who advocate the communities’ ‘Right to Say No’ to mining corporates as per the landmark Xolobeni judgement.

nomboniso gasa

Nomboniso Gasa is an Adjunct Professor at School of Public Law at University of Cape. She is Senior Research Associate at UCT. Her work focussed on Land, Politics, Gender and Cultural issues. Prof. Gasa has a long history in political and womens rights activism extending before the dawn of democracy in South Africa. She has published widely, in newspapers & academic journals.

yasmin sooka

Yasmin Sooka currently chairs the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. She’s a former member of the South African & the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. Sooka is a leading transitional justice expert and has served as a member of several panels including the  UCT Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission(IRTC), the Secretary General’s Panel investigating sexual violence by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic,  UN Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka and is the former Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa.

short documentaries


#DearJudgeZondo, is the social media campaign linked to the People’s Hearing. It is an open call for the public (on social media) to send Judge Zondo/ the State Capture Inquiry their demands, reflections, hopes for the State Capture Inquiry. The tweets/ posts/ videos and photos posted using the hashtag will be used at the People’s Hearing on the 12th of October.

the 101 key state capture witness list

On the 25th of October 2020, the Civil Society Working Group on State Capture wrote an open letter to Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo highlighting a list of witnesses they believe should be prioritised during the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, saying that the commission should use its full power to compel them to appear before it. The group believes that the list of highlighted witnesses will be instrumental in strengthening the commission’s work.