Zuma, Guptas bring legal muscle on first day of state capture inquiry

Legal representatives for various members of the Zuma and Gupta families were in strong attendance as the first day of the State Capture Commission of Inquiry got underway on Monday.

News24 observed attorney Rudi Krause of BDK Attorneys, who represents Duduzane Zuma and other Gupta associates in the ongoing Estina dairy farm matter.

Former president Jacob Zuma's legal "dream team" - advocates Mike Hellens SC, Dawie Joubert SC, Muzi Sikhakane SC and Thabani Masuku SC - were in attendance.

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Advocate Jaap Cilliers SC was seated with Zuma's representatives. He is representing businessman Fana Hlongwane.

Hellens and Joubert are criminal law experts, while Sikhakane and Masuku specialise in civil litigation, the Mail and Guardian reported.

Hellens is representing Ajay Gupta at the inquiry. 

He was also in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Friday, where he argued on behalf of the Gupta brothers' nephew Varun Gupta, Oakbay CEO Ronica Ragavan and former Sahara chief executive Ashu Chawla.

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The three are among eight Gupta-linked individuals accused of criminal acts relating to the R250m Estina dairy farm project.

Sikakhane was the head of a panel set up in 2014 at the South African Revenue Service tasked with first looking into allegations against former SARS executive Johann van Loggerenberg, and later to look into the so-called "rogue unit". 

The Sunday Times reported that the commission, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, had been in touch with Zuma, but it still remains unclear if he will testify.

The commission is set to hear from its first witnesses on Tuesday, with Monday expected to be mainly for formalities.

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