Zondo puts together his own justice league

Head of the commission of inquiry into state capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, announced the appointment of key personnel to the commission during a press brief on Wednesday.

The appointed officials are Dr Khotso De Wee, Vincent Maleka SC, Terence Nombembe, Leah Gcabashe SC, Paul Pretorius SC and Thandi Norman.

Dr Khotso De Wee has been appointed as the secretary of the commission. He was the executive director of Fort Hare Solutions and previously served as the chief operations officer at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. De Wee was also previously the acting Secretary-General in the Office of the Chief Justice before joining the private sector.

The person who will be head of investigations for the commission is Terence Nombembe who will lead a “ team of investigators who are multi disciplined in order to cope with the type of investigation that will be required,” said Zondo.

Nombembe was the CEO of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) and previously served as the Auditor-General of the Republic of South Africa for a period of seven years.

Zondo said: “We have decided to not release the names of the investigators [that will form part of Nombembe’s team] as you can understand. This is due to the sensitivity of the work to be done.”

The head of the legal team for the commission is Advocate Paul Pretorius who previously worked as an acting judge in the High Court (Witwatersrand Local Division). Zondo says he has “no doubt that the commission will derive a lot of value from him”.

Pretorius will be joined by Vincent Maleka who has been senior counsel for 16 years and was previously appointed as a judge of both the High and Labour Courts.

Other senior counsel that will form part of the legal team are Leah Gcabashe and Thandi Norman. Advocates and attorneys will be brought onto the legal team as the investigation requires.

Zondo said that he could not give an exact start date for the commission but that it would be revealed “in the next few months”.

“In the next two weeks or so, investigators will go out into the field to start working. We have also identified offices for the hearings and once we are ready to occupy those offices, we’ll make an announcement so the public can have the address and phone numbers,” Zondo said.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela recommended in her state capture report that the commission take six months to complete the inquiry but Zondo insists that that is not enough time.

“I have reason to believe that the presidency is looking into the issue (of time frame) because there is no way that the work of the commission can be done in six months.”

Zondo also addressed the recent parliamentary committee hearings into matters related to state capture and said the commission does not seek to duplicate what has been done in other forums because the commission’s investigations are going to be more in-depth.

“The desired outcome is that at the end of this process, South Africans understand the depth of this state capture issue so that we as a country don’t end up in the same situation (as before).”

“Those who committed criminal conduct in regards to state capture will also need to be dealt with by our criminal justice system. That is also the hope of the commission.”

This article has been amended to reflect updated information

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