Questions for Guptas, Duduzane Zuma
THE GUPTA brothers, Ajay and Atul, and President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, were among the first key witnesses identified by MPs to be questioned in the inquiry by Parliament into alleged state capture at Eskom.
Parliament warned yesterday it could widen its probe into state capture to include all the State-owned Enterprises (SOEs), including Transnet and Denel, within the oversight of the portfolio committee on public enterprises.
This followed MPs in the portfolio committee agreeing to call Ajay and Atul Gupta and Dududzane Zuma to explain their alleged involvement in state capture.
The acting chairperson of the committee, Zukiswa Rantho, said the inquiry, which would begin in August, would probe coal contracts at Eskom, including issues related to the Tegeta and Optimum mines.
This followed a directive by Parliament for the portfolio committees on Home Affairs, Public Enterprises, Transport committee and Mineral Resources to investigate state capture.
Rantho said they may call any witness to give evidence because the law allowed them to do so.
“The committee may monitor, investigate or inquire of any organ of state. In this regard, the rules empower the committee to initiate an inquiry into Eskom,” she said.
Rantho said their work on Eskom would start in August.
However, they will ensure that all those implicated in the leaked e-mails, fingered in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report and other platforms were asked to attend the inquiry and give evidence. Rantho said this would be extensive work done by the committee.
The committee also agreed the inquiry would look into previous investigations at Eskom.
The inquiry is different to that conducted by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, who has asked the Special Investigating Unit to probe Eskom.
MPs said they would, among other things, also look into the Dentons and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reports into the problems at Eskom.
The PwC report was recently tabled by the National Treasury to the standing committee on public accounts. It found irregularities in the awarding of R4 billion in coal contracts to Tegeta in 2014.
The National Treasury has promised to conclude its own investigation into Eskom.
Mondli Gungubele from the ANC said the issue of Brian Molefe was a symptom of what was to unfold at Eskom.
Molefe has taken Brown to court to reverse the decision of the cabinet to remove him as chief executive.
Rantho said they wanted to clean up SOEs and were not on a witch-hunt. “From August we will include the issue of the Gupta e-mail leaks. You may think the issue of Molefe is irrelevant, but his re-appointment made us think about the governance of the entity,” she said.
She said they will look at the appointment of board members in SOEs. This followed the e-mail leaks that the Guptas influenced the appointment of board executive and non-executive directors.
Rantho said the National Treasury report into the coal contracts at Eskom had also found irregularities. She said there were many unexplained decisions by Eskom and they wanted to get to the bottom of them.
An entrance to the Optimum Kwagga coal mine in Mpumalanga in this file picture. The former Public Protector’s report has provided some fairly damning evidence about Gupta-owned Tegeta’s purchase of Optimum Coal Holdings.