Please ex­plain, Zuma’s son told

Duduzane, Gup­tas to give Eskom ev­i­dence

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI siyabonga.mkhwanazi@inl.co.za

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma’s son Duduzane will face MPs next month af­ter the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on pub­lic en­ter­prises con­firmed yes­ter­day it would call him and the Gup­tas to give ev­i­dence in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Eskom’s deals with Gupta-owned com­pa­nies.

Act­ing chair­per­son of the com­mit­tee Zuk­iswa Ran­tho said yes­ter­day that they had writ­ten to Duduzane and the Gup­tas to ap­pear be­fore the in­quiry next month.

In the words of Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Lynne Brown, just this week: “You all know that Eskom has been em­broiled in a se­ries of se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and cor­rup­tion.

“None of the al­le­ga­tions have been proven in a court of law, but they have fun­da­men­tally eroded the com­pany’s in­tegrity and will con­tinue to do so un­til they are en­gaged by the ap­pro­pri­ate law en­force­ment agen­cies and ad­dressed, one way or the other.”

Brown added that cer­tain mat­ters were now in court, so she felt a lit­tle con­strained about what she could say.

But she pointed out that, as the “share­holder’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive”, she was re­liant on Eskom’s board and man­age­ment for ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion.

“I have re­cently had rea­son to ques­tion the ve­rac­ity of some of the an­swers I have been given,” Brown said.

MPs, too, were not happy with some of the an­swers they were given by the power util­ity, and it was for this rea­son that they agreed to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Eskom.

In com­pil­ing a list of wit­nesses, the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee de­cided to in­clude Duduzane Zuma and the Gup­tas.

Ran­tho said: “We first wrote to them to tell them that the com­mit­tee would call them.”

She said a date had not yet been set for the in­quiry be­cause of the ex­tra in­for­ma­tion that they kept re­ceiv­ing about Eskom.

“This in­for­ma­tion has led to us hav­ing to put back the date ev­ery time. We will see as time goes on which wit­nesses we will call on spe­cific dates,” said Ran­tho.

“The com­mit­tee will set out the dates once we have more cer­tainty.”

The com­mit­tee’s in­ten­tion is to look at Eskom fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion that was taken in May.

Ini­tially, the com­mit­tee had wanted to in­ves­ti­gate Eskom’s de­ci­sion to re­in­state Brian Molefe as its chief ex­ec­u­tive.

How­ever, the scope was ex­panded as MPs de­manded an­swers on the coal con­tracts be­tween Tegeta, a Gupta-owned com­pany, and Eskom.

Eskom was also heav­ily crit­i­cised by the stand­ing com­mit­tee on pub­lic ac­counts (Scopa) a few months ago over its coal con­tracts with the Gup­tas.

This fol­lowed a re­port by Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers (PwC) that the con­tract was flawed and no proper pro­cesses were fol­lowed in draw­ing it up.

Scopa had also asked Eskom about its real value as it was said the con­tract was worth R4 bil­lion over 10 years, while some put it at R7bn.

PwC is not the only com­pany that has probed Eskom, as there are six other re­ports ly­ing around at the power util­ity on pre­vi­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

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