Holomisa wants in­tel­li­gence to probe Gup­tas

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

United Demo­cratic Move­ment leader Bantu Holomisa says the Joint Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence would be the ap­pro­pri­ate par­lia­men­tary unit to in­ter­ro­gate the Gupta fam­ily’s deal­ings with govern­ment be­cause it has the pow­ers to de­mand ac­cess to con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ments from any state depart­ment or en­tity.

On Thurs­day, Holomisa wrote a let­ter to Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete, re­quest­ing that she di­rect the com­mit­tee to con­duct open hear­ings on the deals the Gup­tas had con­cluded with govern­ment.

“The com­mit­tee has the in­stru­ments to get rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing clas­si­fied ma­te­rial,” said Holomisa, who is a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee.

“It could also get in­for­ma­tion from state se­cu­rity ser­vices. They will give us that clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion; they can­not hide it.”

Mbete’s spokesper­son, Mand­lakazi Sig­cawu, con­firmed re­ceipt of Holomisa’s let­ter.

Holomisa cited as the ba­sis for the hear­ings var­i­ous me­dia re­ports and al­le­ga­tions that the Gup­tas had un­duly ben­e­fited from sev­eral govern­ment con­tracts due to their re­la­tion­ships with govern­ment of­fi­cials and those in charge of state-owned agen­cies. He said this was “un­der­min­ing our econ­omy and the coun­try’s se­cu­rity”.

“We are talk­ing about the ac­tions of govern­ment giv­ing out busi­ness in a way that could com­pro­mise na­tional se­cu­rity,” said Holomisa.

The pro­posal piles political pres­sure on the Gup­tas, who are close to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his fam­ily, as well as other se­nior na­tional and pro­vin­cial govern­ment fig­ures.

It comes af­ter the SA Com­mu­nist Party de­scribed the Gup­tas’ op­er­a­tions as “state cap­ture” and tabled the mat­ter be­fore the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

The Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers had also de­manded that the Gup­tas leave SA.

The ANC met the Gup­tas on Mon­day and later said there was “an ob­ses­sion” with the fam­ily.

“The risk about this ob­ses­sion with the Gup­tas is that we miss the big­ger pic­ture in the econ­omy, such as the Bri­tish com­pany An­glo Amer­i­can pulling out in­vest­ments in the coun­try or Mondi list­ing out­side of South Africa,” said party sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe.

Holomisa said Mbete had not given any in­di­ca­tion as to how much time she needed to con­sider his pro­posal.

He had sent his let­ter to all lead­ers of political par­ties and chief whips, adding that he hoped they would as­sist in ex­ert­ing pres­sure to get the mat­ter in­ves­ti­gated as soon as pos­si­ble.

He said the in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee would be able to de­ter­mine whether state se­cu­rity ser­vices knew about deals in­volv­ing the Gup­tas, par­tic­u­larly af­ter re­ports had emerged that the af­fected political prin­ci­pals were in the dark about the al­leged part­ner­ship be­tween Denel and the fam­ily.

“If the pub­lic en­ter­prises min­is­ter [Lynne Brown] does not know, then what is hap­pen­ing?” asked Holomisa.

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