Parliament starts Eskom inquiry on good footing
By Babalo Ndenze | 2017-07-25 16:15:27.0
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Parliament kicked off its preparations for a full inquiry into the state capture “phenomenon” on Tuesday‚ receiving presentations from concerned organisations on “mafia style” control of Eskom and other state owned enterprises.
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Parliament’s public enterprises portfolio committee met for the first time to “prepare” for an inquiry into Eskom and some of its dealings allegedly linked to state capture and the Gupta family owned companies.
The committee is one of four committees that have been tasked with investigating state capture in relation to their respective portfolios.
The other committees are home affairs‚ energy and transport.
The public enterprises committee was be briefed by the SA Council of Churches (SACC)‚ the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) as well as the Public Affairs Research Institute.
Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana of the SACC was the first to brief the committee‚ where he defended the involvement of the church in political matters.
The SACC had come under criticism from some in the ANC for involving itself in political matters when it released its scathing report into state capture.
“I beg your indulgence to speak to a very small matter that has been raised by some as to why the churches have the temerity to pronounce on matters that are considered political. It seems appropriate that we should within these hallowed walls make it clear once and for all that those who make such calls on churches are either genuinely ignorant of the nature of the Christian faith or simply being disingenuous. While we suspect that the latter might be the case‚ we consider it worthwhile providing for those who might be genuinely ignorant‚” said Mpumlwana.
He added that the preamble of South Africa’s constitution ends by saying “may God protect our people”.
Presenting its “No Room to Hide” report‚ Outa focused its presentation on specific individuals at Eskom who are linked to the Guptas and their companies.
The organisation went into detail on allegations against Eskom CFO Anoj Singh‚ public enterprises director-general Richard Seleke‚ former acting CEO Matshela Koko and former chairman Brian Molefe on their various roles.
Outa’s portfolio director for energy‚ Tom Blom‚ said there was lots of confusion on how Molefe arrived and departed at Eskom.
“There is a fundamental breakdown at Eskom‚ including Eskom’s legal department. It is unheard of‚ of a government department to issue such magnitude of a guarantee for one company to buy another company‚” said Blom.
Outa said it was now looking at charging Seleke next.
The organisation said Seleke “acted as a postman to get classified information from DPE to the Gupta family”.
MPs welcomed the presentations.
The ANC’s Mondli Gungubele said the call for organisations to brief the committee helped “widen our intelligence” with allowing the committee to “start on a sound footing”.
Former finance minister and committee member Pravin Gordhan said the presentations were a great way to start the inquiry.
“We have a vibrant democracy. There are still people that can record the truth and speak the truth‚” said Gordhan.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu said he believed everything the SACC was saying.
“We also believe the evidence-based presentation by Outa‚” said Shivambu.
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