MPs to question Zuma’s son and Guptas
As with the SABC inquiry, Eskom shenanigans will be exposed
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and the Gupta family are some of the people to be summoned to testify during a probe into the shenanigans at Eskom.
Former Eskom bigwigs Ben Ngubane and his close ally Brian Molefe are also on the list of witnesses MPs are planning to grill over the problems at the power utility.
Yesterday, the public enterprises portfolio committee said it would need just over a month to get to the bottom of the state capture allegations at Eskom.
Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas are at the centre of allegations of state capture at Eskom.
The parliamentary probe will also cast its net wider to include former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi, acting chairperson Zethembe Khoza, former acting chief executive Matshela Koko and another ex-acting chief executive, Collin Matjila.
Among the executives to be called are Anoj Singh, Suzanne Daniels and Elsie Pule.
MPs also said Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and her deputy, Ben Martins, would have to come and give evidence.
Ngubane quit as board chairperson in a huff last week, after an apparent fallout between him and Brown over who should run Eskom.
The ANC said Ngubane should be held to account for the problems at Eskom.
Ngubane told The Star last week that he and Molefe were being targeted for being close to Zuma and were victims of ANC infighting.
The DA in the committee pushed for the names of Duduzane and Atul and Ajay Gupta to be included on the witnesses list.
Yesterday, Zukiswa Rantho, acting chairperson of the portfolio committee on public enterprises, agreed to the list. He said this would form part of the directive by the House chairperson in the National Assembly, Cedric Frolick, to the committee.
“We will include the names of Ajay and Atul Gupta and Duduzane Zuma,” she said.
“According to the rules of Parliament we can summon any person to appear. We will stick to the rules. We must work together as the committee of Parliament,” said Rantho.
She denied that their investigations into state capture and the Guptas was part of ANC factional battles leading to the policy conference at the end of the month and the elective conference in December.
The investigation is based on the problems at Eskom and other state-owned entities, she said, adding that “this was a serious investigation involving billions and billions of rand belonging to the taxpayers”.
“People will say what they want to say. We are not a faction here. We want to see clean governance,” said Rantho.
The committee agreed that they would dig into the leaked emails, coal contracts at Eskom and the reappointment of Molefe at the power utility, among others.
She added that they were also part of the committee investigating other state-owned enterprises.
Frolick this week also asked the various parliamentary committees to probe the leaked emails implicating several ministers.
“We wish to have this inquiry in one month. I think we will need more than one month and we may apply to Parliament for extra time,” Rantho said.
During the meeting of the committee all parties agreed on the scope of the inquiry.
MPs said they wanted to conduct a swift probe into Eskom to ensure that all those responsible for the problems at the power utility were held accountable and brought to justice.
ANC MP Moss Tseli said all the parties had agreed to the inquiry because it was in the best interests of the country and Eskom.
“The issue at hand is the one that concerns all of us, hence we have taken a decision to have an inquiry.
“We are doing this thing collectively in the best interests of our people. I am confident we will work together,” he said.
The DA’s Natasha Mazzone said in a statement her party welcomed the inclusion of the Guptas and Duduzane.
“The DA will fully participate in this Eskom inquiry, which we called for.
“And we look forward to interrogating the implicated Guptas and Mr Duduzane Zuma in person,” she said.
Earlier, she told the committee that they would need all the documents and board minutes into Eskom’s dealings in the past 10 years.
She said they also need the “sanitised” Dentons report and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report into irregularities at Eskom.
The committee would take a leaf out of the ad hoc committee into the SABC inquiry to ensure that they delve into flouting of the law and abuse of power, she added.