Gupta brothers put on list of witnesses for parliament inquiry into Eskom issues

Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta
File picture: Muntu Vilakazi/Gallo Images

Gupta brothers Ajay and Atul as well as President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane have been listed as potential witnesses in the upcoming parliamentary inquiry into Eskom procurement deals and state capture.

The National Assembly’s public enterprises committee met on Wednesday to discuss the terms of reference and potential witnesses to testify before its parliamentary inquiry‚ which has been scheduled to get under way on August 1.

MPs were told to prepare themselves for long days and potential weekend work as they set about uncovering the rot at Eskom.

The Guptas and Duduzane Zuma were not on the original list prepared by the committee but Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Mazzone requested that they be included.

Zukiswa Rantho‚ who is an ANC MP and the acting chairperson of the public enterprises‚ said they would seek legal advice on whether they could call the Guptas‚ but said parliamentary rules gave them powers to summon “any person” within the Republic.

Also on the list to be called are former Eskom senior executives including Tshediso Matona‚ Brian Molefe‚ Matshela Koko and Collins Matjila and former board chairpersons Ben Ngubane and Zola Tsotsi.

Rantho said in the interests of time‚ the inquiry would look into the issues surrounding Molefe’s reappointment as group chief executive as well as issues of procurement at Eskom within the context of state capture allegations.

Among the issues the committee will investigate are:

– the response by Eskom to the Public Protector’s State of Capture report‚ focusing on its findings about Molefe.

– Molefe’s reappointment and how his retirement package was determined.

– Eskom’s compliance with legislation including the Companies Act‚ the Public Finance Management Act and the Pension Funds act.

Rantho also confirmed she had received a letter from chairperson of House committee in the national assembly‚ Cedric Frolick‚ asking her committee to look into the issues of state capture raised in the leaked Gupta emails.

“We still need to get and read the emails but we will see if we can include them as part of the inquiry.

“The coal contracts will form part of the inquiry‚ we can’t separate them [the contracts and Molefe]‚” she said.

Among the documents the committee would ask for‚ is minutes of the meetings held to discuss Molefe’s re-appointment as well as his pension fund pay-out and all of the reports into maladministration at Eskom.

Committee members all resolved to set aside party differences and conduct the inquiry in the best interests of the country.

“We are in this together because we want to correct all the wrong-doings within Eskom‚” Rantho said.

Mazzone said the committee was the “first in Parliament to tackle this cancer of state capture“.

ANC MP Mondli Gungubele said even though Molefe was no longer at Eskom‚ “he became a symptom of a problem and those conditions‚ whether he is there or not‚ continue to exist”.

– Parliamentary Bureau


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