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Eskom inquiry: Call for Zuma to face questioning

Jul 25 2017 17:52
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town – MPs have called for the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom to be extend to Transnet and Denel as well.

This comes after the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and the State Capacity Research Project under a group of academics, made submissions to Parliament on Tuesday on their separate investigations into state capture.

The investigations done by the three institutions included a number of references to underhandedness at not only Eskom, but also Transnet and Denel.

During a discussion on the terms of reference for the forthcoming inquiry, David Maynier from the Democratic Alliance (DA) asked the committee chairperson Zukiswa Rantho to consider casting the net wider with regard to the list of potential witnesses to include people such as Richard Seleke, director general of the Department of Public Enterprises, and Ashu Chawla, chief operating officer at Gupta-owned Sahara Computers, whose names have also come up in the leaked e-mails and Outa’s report on state capture.

Outa said earlier during its presentation that Seleke for example “acted as a postman” between Eskom and the Gupta family.  “And they shouldn’t be invited to testify, they should be summoned,” Maynier said.

Floyd Shivambu from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said in addition to Duduzane Zuma and Ajay Gupta, whose names appear on the list of potential witnesses distributed to MPs on Tuesday morning, it should be extended to President Jacob Zuma, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

“Anything Gupta needs to be added to the list,” Shivambu said, “meaning Tony, Atul, Ajay – they all need to come and testify.”

Shivambu also suggested that the National Prosecuting Authority be called to account for the number of cases that are still pending.

Steve Swart from the ACDP said it is crucial to involve an experienced evidence leader during the investigation process. “We need someone with court experience, someone who can be firm.”

During the SABC inquiry in 2016, Swart said, some of the witnesses tried to “bully” the evidence leader (Adv Nthuthuzelo Vanara), but he stood his ground.

Narend Singh from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) asked Rantho to also include witnesses who would be able to testify as to the true nature of Eskom’s so-called financial stability.

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