Gordhan leak ‘culprit’ fingered
Former auditor-general ‘to blame’
TERENCE Nombembe, the former auditor-general and lead investigator of the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, has been fingered by very high-ranking officials in the ANC and EFF as the culprit behind the leaked revised submission by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan detailing his meetings with the Guptas during former president Jacob Zuma’s term.
Following Gordhan’s revised submission to the Zondo Commission this week, Independent Media has it on good authority from senior political sources that Nombembe leaked the documents in order to mitigate Gordhan’s potential political fallout at the commission.
Some political sources and analysts have warned that the entire scenario is playing itself out as some form of reputation management strategy for Gordhan to ensure that he does not fall on his sword like former minister of finance Nhlanhla Nene.
Some verified sources in the ANC have also revealed that Gordhan has had a falling out with President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has struck a deal with Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The deal was struck in an effort to bring unity to the party in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
According to other senior ANC sources, Gordhan is believed to want no part of the unity project and is “hell bent” on bringing down anyone who was “seen to be sympathetic towards the previous (Zuma) administration”.
Yesterday, the Presidency refused to comment.
Nombembe is the lead investigator at the commission and is said to have very close ties with Gordhan.
According to information from ANC sources, Nombembe is believed to have leaked the documents as he was promised a job by Gordhan as the head of the NPA once the commission had ended.
Gordhan is widely believed to have immense political influence.
Nene fell from grace last month after he confessed at the commission that he had lied about meeting the Gupta family on several accusations. He unceremoniously resigned as finance minister and as an MP.
Gordhan has now been found to have also contradicted himself about his meeting the Guptas.
Last year, when Gordhan was asked by the Sunday Times if he had met the Gupta family, he said: “The answer is no. I am a very quiet person. I stick to my corner.”
In his latest revised submission, it has been revealed he met the Guptas on four separate occasions.
Floyd Shivambu, an MP and deputy president of the EFF, said he believed it was Nombembe who leaked the report to garner some public sympathy for Gordhan. This has backfired, he said.
“The EFF long cautioned about Nombembe and even wrote to the commission to object to his inclusion in the commission. The Zondo commission must investigate Nombembe and should subpoena Ranjeni Munusamy because she is the first one to write a public sympathy – mobilising article in the Tiso Blackstar titles,” said Shivambu.
Another high-ranking ANC source in the national executive committee said Gordhan’s original submission did not take into account what is now being termed as the “Nene experience” in ANC and government circles.
“The Nene experience taught them that there are consequences to what they say in their submission and that they have to be measured in whatever they say, especially with regards to the meetings with the Guptas,” said the source.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous so as to not be seen as a factionalist, confirmed that Nombembe was the prime suspect behind the leaks.
“I can tell you that the person who leaked this information is Nombembe. He works very closely with Gordhan. Everyone knows it here in Luthuli House. We know it was him who leaked the report at the commission. We also have reason to believe that he did so as he was promised that he would become the head of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority).”
Boitumelo Senokoane, an associate professor at Unisa, said the integrity of the commission must comprise people who are confidential by nature and do not have ulterior motives.
“For anyone who sees the commission as a non-credible structure, the outcomes of the processes might be pre-empted. Should it be that there are people who are not credible and who are leaking information, the whole process will be questioned,” he said.
He was of the view that the leak held two possible scenarios. The first being that the intent of the leak was a malicious attempt to expose Gordhan. The second was that it was a way to bring down the credibility of the Zondo Commission.
Neither Nombembe nor the commission responded to questions at the time of going to print.
Gordhan’s spokesperson Adrian Lackay referred all questions to the commission.