South Africa’s State Capture Commission starts work


South Africa opened an inquiry into allegations of influence peddling revolving around former president Jacob Zuma and businessman friends of his, the deputy chief justice said.

The allegations around Zuma, forced out of office last month by his ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, and the wealthy Gupta family tarred major companies, among them, KPMG and McKinsey, and triggered the revolt against Zuma.

Zuma and the Guptas, Indian nationals, consistently deny wrongdoing.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said in a televised news briefing the investigative commission started preliminary work on March 1. Its lead investigator will be former auditor-general, Terrence Nombembe.

The commission will be able to make recommendations for prosecutions.

The commission stems from a 2016 anti-graft report by the Public Protector, a regulatory office with a robust constitutional mandate, calling for an investigation into what is known in South Africa as “state capture.”

It focused on allegations that brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta had influenced the appointment of ministers.

South Africa’s chief prosecutor last month declared Ajay Gupta “a fugitive from justice” wanted in connection with a criminal investigation.