Parliament to probe ministries
PARLIAMENT has moved to exercise its oversight role with different portfolio committees resolving to investigate the Department of Water and Sanitation and state capture in the Department of Mineral Resources.
Yesterday, the Mineral Resources Portfolio Committee declared that it wanted to begin an inquiry into allegations of state capture at the Department of Mineral Resources when members of Parliament return to work after the Easter recess in April. It wants to complete the inquiry in 60 days.
This will be the second Parliamentary probe into state capture. The first one was started last year by the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee.
The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) also decided yesterday to hold a joint inquiry to deal with aspects of the work of the Department of Water and Sanitation.
The Mineral Resources Portfolio Committee will write to the House chairperson, Cedrick Frolick, who last year instructed some portfolio committees to investigate state capture allegations, to ask for someone with a law background to lead evidence in the inquiry on allegations of state capture at the Department of Mineral Resources.
The evidence leader will also assist in finalising the inquiry’s terms of reference, investigate evidence and identify key witnesses.
“The allegations have been hanging for far too long, thereby necessitating a need to move with speed, without compromising the integrity of the process,” said the chairperson of the portfolio committee Sahlulele Luzipo.
The Water and Sanitation Portfolio Committee said in a statement its has agreed to a joint commission of inquiry with Scopa.
The two portfolio committees have agreed on the need to identify focus areas that would stem from various sources, such as the auditor-general, the national Treasury, Scopa and the Special Investigative Unit reports.
They have also agreed to set clear time frames for the process of the inquiry so that there is effective consequence management after this process.
The co-chairpersons will engage the auditor-general, the national Treasury and the SIU to ascertain the age analysis of the findings and also on the finances. The process of the scope of the inquiry will be determined after the engagement with the AG, national Treasury and the SIU.
“The joint committee has also agreed to have a public participation process that will request submissions from members of the public to add value to the inquiry. The joint committee has agreed that there is a need for an evidence leader in this process. It has been agreed that a process of law enforcement must work in parallel with the inquiry where there are any illegal transgressions,” Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said in a statement issued on behalf of both portfolio committees.
Meanwhile, the ANC study group on water and sanitation has said in a statement that it supports the decision for a full investigation into the Department of Water and Sanitation.
“Having identified the key focal points for the inquiry, which include but are not limited to, the mismanagement of public funds, lack of leadership and failure of project management, the joint meeting agreed to engage the AG and the national Treasury in order to determine the scope for the investigation,” the study group whip, Patrick Chauke said.