Searching for the truth: powerhouse team to lead state capture inquiry

07 March 2018 - 17:24
By Qaanitah Hunter
Judge Raymond  Zondo says the commission of inquiry into state capture will investigate all issues relating to it thoroughly and properly.
Image: SIMPHIWE NKWALI Judge Raymond Zondo says the commission of inquiry into state capture will investigate all issues relating to it thoroughly and properly.

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo said he believed the commission of inquiry into state capture should culminate in an understanding of how deep state capture was in South Africa‚ how it came about and who was involved.

Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday‚ Zondo announced a powerhouse team of people to key positions in the inquiry - of which former auditor-general Terrence Nombebe would be the lead investigator.

Zondo announced three senior counsel who will be part of the legal team‚ led by Advocate Paul Pretorius.

The legal team includes three other senior counsels with a cumulative wealth of experience: Advocates Isaac Maleka‚ Leah Gcabashe and Thandi Normana.

Longtime government bureaucrat Dr Khotso De Wee has been appointed as secretary of the commission.

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“South Africans hopefully will understand the depth of the state capture issue. How deep it was and how it came about and what should be done that South Africa never gets in that situation again‚” Zondo said.

He said the desired outcome of the commission would be to identify who was involved in state capture.

Zondo said the commission effectively began its work on March 1‚ but it will be a while before public hearings begin.

“There is no way we can finish the work of commission in 180 days‚” he said about the timeline instituted by the former public protector‚ adding that President Cyril Ramaphosa was considering the issue of the timeline and would make an announcement in due course.

He said the investigating team‚ led by Nombembe‚ might rely on other investigations done by other organs of state‚ including parliament.

“The commission has been given a certain task. That task might mean that certain evidence or certain people in other forums might have to give evidence [here] as well‚” Zondo said.

He further noted that he did not anticipate an issue of hostile witnesses‚ saying the law is very clear about those called to testify before a commission.

He also noted that the commission can recommend to law enforcement agencies to prosecute individuals after the commission completes its work.