Committee gears up for hearings into Steinhoff debacle

Joint parliamentary committee hearings on the Steinhoff debacle will be held in the last week of this month, finance committee chairman Yunus Carrim confirmed yesterday.

The group is under investigation by regulators in Europe‚ as well as in South Africa. Carrim said the hearings would be held jointly with the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) and the portfolio committee on public service and administration.

“Depending on outstanding administrative issues‚ the hearings will be on January 30 or 31‚” he said. Carrim said he had written to the Financial Services Board‚ South African Reserve Bank‚ Public Investment Corporation‚ Government Employees Pension Fund‚ the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors and the JSE.

He has informed them about the pending hearings and has asked them to provide the committee with the scope or terms of reference of the Financial Services Board investigation into Steinhoff and the possible timelines for the completion of the investigation.

Carrim said representatives of Steinhoff would also be invited to make a submission, but it was not yet clear legally speaking whether a private-sector entity was obliged to give evidence before a parliamentary committee‚ as parliament only has oversight over public entities.

It could be‚ however‚ that Steinhoff executives welcomed the opportunity to provide clarity on affairs within the group.

DA finance spokesman David Maynier re-emphasised the need for parliamentary hearings by the finance committee on Steinhoff‚ which he said he had requested.

“We need to know what they knew‚ when they knew it‚ and what they did about it when it came to accounting irregularities at Steinhoff‚” Maynier said.

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