Terence Nombembe. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Terence Nombembe. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The EFF has demanded that former auditor-general Terence Nombembe be recused from leading investigations in the state capture inquiry as the party believes he is conflicted.

Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo said on Wednesday that Nombembe would lead the inquiry’s investigations team.

Nombembe’s appointment has been widely hailed, given his expertise in auditing.

However, EFF leader Julius Malema has questioned it, pointing to the fact that the former auditor-general was CEO of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica), which had received a R1.2m donation from the Gupta family-linked Trillian.

The Guptas, former president Jacob Zuma and his son, Duduzane, have been at the heart of state capture allegations.

Saica paid back the donation to Trillian, which was made in March 2017 as a contribution to its bursary fund for disadvantaged students.

Malema said by the time Saica had received the donation, it was common cause and public knowledge that Trillian was “used as a corruption vehicle by the Gupta criminal syndicate and had received more than R500m from Eskom”.

Malema said the EFF had written to Nombembe to confirm and explain the donation, but Nombembe had merely responded via e-mail to arrange a phone conversation.

The EFF would now write to Zondo requesting that he recuse Nombembe from the commission, as Saica’s initial acceptance of the money disqualified Nombembe, Malema said.

The EFF wanted Nombembe to be called as a witness to the state capture commission.

“If Mr Nombembe insists on staying on as lead investigator, the EFF will approach a court of law to pray for his disqualification from the process due to conflicts of interest.”

Malema also raised issue with advocate Paul Pretorius SC, who was appointed as head of the legal team, which includes three other senior counsel, Vincent Maleka, Leah Gcabashe and Thandi Norman.

Malema said Maleka would have been capable of leading the team, while “any white advocate could still be included”.

Malema on Thursday also touched on the listeriosis outbreak and land expropriation.

He indicated that the EFF would file a class-action suit against the companies impli-cated in the listeriosis outbreak in which 180 people have died.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Sunday the outbreak had been traced to Enterprise’s Polokwane facility.

Listeria was also traced to a Rainbow Chicken facility in the Free State, but further tests were needed as the sequence type was unknown.

On the land issue, Malema said the EFF’s position was that the state should be the primary custodian of all land, including traditional land.

The EFF was willing to engage with King Goodwill Zwelithini, the Ingonyama Trust and other traditional leaders and bodies that had an interest in the land matter, he said.

The trust controls more than 3-million hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal.