CAPE TOWN — Depth of legal knowledge and a powerful eclectic mix of task-specific skills mark the six-person team that makes up the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture under Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. The legal team will be led by highly respected Advocate Paul Pretorius, SC, a former acting judge in the High Court, accompanied by another former High and Labour court judge, Vincent Maleka, who’s also Deputy Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee of the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors. Then there’s Terence Nombembe, Auditor-General for South Africa from 2006 – 2013, a man whom Alec Hogg once called, “the Thuli Madonsela in his field,” and whom Corruption Watch dubbed, “a national hero”. He’s flanked by Thandi Norman, an experienced evidence leader who served the Pillay and Goldstone Commissions (both 2005), and Chairperson of KwaZulu Natal’s Advocates for Transformation. Her strengths include Shipping, Competition, Constitutional and Administrative Law. She was a Presiding Officer at the country’s first democratic elections and has also acted as a judge. Leah Gcabashe is Vice-Chairperson of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates and a non-executive director of both the Aveng Group and Electronic Communications (Ptd) and lectures law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Long-time government bureaucrat, Dr William Khotso de Wee is the Secretary of the Commission. An executive director of top consultancy, Fort Hare Solutions, he served as Chief Operations Officer at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and is a former Secretary-General in the Office of the Chief Justice. A former Director General of the Free State provincial government, he chaired that province’s procurement committee. – Chris Bateman
(Bloomberg) — South Africa has appointed six people to the commission of inquiry into allegations that the Gupta family was allowed to influence state decisions.
Khotso de Wee, acting secretary-general in the office of the chief justice, Advocates Isaac Vincent Maleka, Leah Gcabashe, Paul Pretorius and Thandi Norman, as well as former Auditor-General Terence Nombembe will form the panel, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The commission will investigate whether former President Jacob Zuma played any role in the Gupta family’s alleged offer of cabinet posts to people including former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and other claims that they influenced state decisions. Zuma announced in January, when he was still president, that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng selected Zondo to head the probe.
That follows a report and recommendations by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. She ordered the inquiry into allegations that the Guptas may have influenced cabinet appointments and received special treatment for a coal business linked to the family and one of the president’s sons. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.
“Where it appears that there has been criminal conduct, the commission will make recommendations that the relevant authorities look into that issue and that where prosecutions are justified they should happen,” Zondo said.
De Wee will be the commission’s secretary, while Nombembe will head up investigations, Zondo said. Pretorius will head the legal team while Maleka, Gcabashe and Norman will form part of that team, he said.
The commission hasn’t set an exact date for the start of the hearings, and expects investigations to start in the next few months, Zondo said.
“There is simply no way in which the commission can finish all the work it is supposed to do within six months,” Zondo said, adding that the presidency under Cyril Ramaphosa is looking into the issue.