State capture crack team is ‘ready to deal with hostile witnesses’

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

The chairperson of the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, announced his crack team to probe fraud and corruption at the office of the chief justice in Midrand on Wednesday afternoon.

Zondo’s six-member team is made up of Dr Khotso de Wee, a former justice department chief executive, and its head of investigators will be Terence Nombembe, the former Auditor General, who is currently the chief executive of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the chairperson of the Gauteng Ethics and Anti-Corruption Advisory Council.

Heavy hitting advocates including Vincent Maleka SC; Leah Gcabashe SC, who is the vice-chairperson of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates; and Thandi Norman SC, the chairperson of Advocates for Transformation in KwaZulu-Natal and a former acting judge.

“Dr De Wee will be the secretary of the commission and will be responsible for the administration. He was previously the executive director of Fort Hare Solutions, University of Fort Hare,” Justice Zondo said.

The legal team for the commission is led by Advocate Paul Pretorius SC, also an acting judge, who will be assisted by senior councils Maleka, Gcabashe and Norman.

The commission has opted not to reveal the names and identities of the investigators to protect them. However, Zondo said the team will be made up of investigators from various backgrounds to assist the commission to achieve its aims.

The investigators under Nombembe are expected to start gathering information in the next two weeks.

Addressing journalists, Justice Zondo said the commission started its job on March 1.

The commission, he said, was in the process of securing accommodation and might start with its sittings in the next few months.

Justice Zondo said the commission was empowered to deal with “hostile” witnesses and had powers to compel witnesses to appear before it.

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