POLITICS
07/03/2018 14:44 SAST | Updated 07/03/2018 20:22 SAST

Here They Are – The Capture Busters!

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo today inaugurated the commissioners who will lead the inquiry into state capture alongside him.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
AFP/Getty Images
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has chosen a hit parade of lawyers and a former auditor-general to join him in South Africa's most important corruption probe in decades.

Zondo and his team of six will probe all the allegations of state capture that have rocked South Africa for a decade, but for which evidence has grown over the past two years.

The political impacts have been acute: analysts believe President Cyril Ramaphosa won the ANC leadership contest because he positioned himself against state capture.

The commission is tasked with unravelling the Gupta family's empire of corruption, but the terms of reference of the commission have been widened to include a much broader probe. Former president Jacob Zuma ordered the commission of inquiry under pressure from the ANC as one of his final acts in January.

The inquiry is wide-ranging, but will specifically investigate the veracity of claims that the Gupta family assumed the power to choose the Cabinet of South Africa. Two politicians – former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor – have both alleged they were offered jobs in return for smoothing the businesses of the family.

Former auditor-general Terence Nombembe joins Zondo from his seat as head of the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica), where he has also started an inquiry into whether or not KPMG violated its code of conduct in relation to its work for the Gupta family empire.

Then four heavyweight lawyers take their seats, in a commission of inquiry that arises from a recommendation in former public protector Thuli Madonsela's report into state capture.

They are Vincent Maleka, Paul Pretorius, Leah Gcabashe and Thandi Norman. Maleka is a well-known senior advocate who appears in the most prominent lawsuits. He has previously served as a judge of the high court and of the labour court.

Pretorius is an expert in mediation and works in both Singapore and South Africa. He is a highly regarded advocate who has advised on various reports into state capture in various inquiries.

Gcabashe is a member of Advocates For Transformation and has been an acting judge. Norman is also a member of Advocates For Transformation and has acted a judge in various divisions of the high court.

Administrative muscle will be provided by Dr Khotso de Wee, who is the acting secretary-general in the office of the Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Learn more about the commission of enquiry members here.