Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced the key appointments to the team that will be part of the state capture inquiry and said in the next two weeks some investigative work will get underway.
Zondo said considering the work to be done by the commission and the investigations to be carried out, some of the hearings will start in the next few months but he could not give an exact date.
“Then there will be other investigations that will take more time. In regard to those investigations, there might be some time before the hearings start,” he said.
Zondo said March 1 can be considered as the date when the commission started its work, adding that the commission will this month do the necessary work before investigators go out into the field.
However, he said some investigators will get their field work underway in the next two weeks.
Zondo announced the following key appointments:
The secretary of the commission, who will head its administration, will be Dr Kgotso Dewee.
- Dewee holds a PhD in Public Administration and has extensive experience in the public service.
- He was Director-General and head of the public service of the Free State provincial government from 2000 to 2005.
- Has acted as CEO of the National Prosecuting Authority from August 1, 2008, to March 2011.
- He was COO in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for many years.
- Was the acting Secretary General of the office of the Chief Justice from October 1, 2011, till the end of March 2013.
- He was recently employed in the private sector by a company associated with a university.
The head of Investigations, who will lead a large multidisciplinary team of investigators, will be Terrence Mcedisi Nombembe.
- He is the former Auditor-General of South Africa.
- Had been deputy Auditor-General for a number of years, but when he left as Auditor-General he had been in a leadership role for just over 13 years.
- He has served in a number of continental and international bodies related to accounting.
Zondo said he decided not to disclose the identity of the investigators to the public for reasons which should be understandable.
He said a team of lawyers will assist the commission, adding that a large number of advocates and attorneys will be brought in at various stages in accordance with the demands of the work of the commission.
The head of the legal team will be Advocate Paul Pretorius, Senior Counsel (SC), who will share the role of evidence leader with members of the legal team.
- Pretorious has been practising as an advocate in Johannesburg for 40 years.
- Has been SC since 1994,
- Has been an acting judge in the High Court and Labour Court,
- He served in the early 80s in the legal resources centre for five years.
Zondo further announced some of the members of the legal team present at the media brief, and those are Advocate Vincent Moleka SC, Advocate Leah Gcabashe SC and Advocate Nothandi Norman SC.
“I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for agreeing to play a role in the work of the commission,” DCJ Zondo said.
He said once the commission concludes its work and has completed its report, which will be submitted to the president, should the commission find there was criminal conduct by some, the commission will recommend that relevant authorities look into those issues.
Zondo said according to regulation 8 (2) sub-regulation 2 of the regulations of the commission if a person gives evidence before the commission, the evidence they give may not be used against them in subsequent criminal proceedings. However, he said the regulation does not say that if police have evidence from other witnesses or sources against those persons then that evidence cannot be used against them.
He added that the regulation does not say that once an individual gives evidence to the commission they cannot be prosecuted.
He said the regulation is not peculiar to the state capture inquiry commission and that other recent commissions have an equivalent provision, citing the Arms Deal Commission as an example.
Zondo said persons who have given evidence in other inquiries, like ongoing inquiries in parliament, might be requested to give evidence to the commission.
He said if a person has lawful ground not to give evidence then that issue will be looked into by the commission at the time.
He said he doubts the inquiries in the National Assembly will be as in-depth as the commission will be, but he said the commission’s members will discuss with the leadership of parliament and will look at the evidence given at those inquiries to determine the extent the commission should build on that.
He reiterated what he said previously that he is of the view that the commission will not be able to conclude its work within six months (180 days), a matter he said he has raised with President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The deputy chief justice said the commission’s legal team will look at how to go about summoning witnesses or those to give evidence who are abroad.
He said the desired outcome of the commission is that South Africans will understand the origins, depth of state capture and those involved.
He said the commission will be objective and fair and will be conducted properly, professionally and thoroughly and the rights of those who will appear before it will be respected.
Zondo said the commission has taken all reasonable steps to prioritise security.