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Eskom Inquiry resumes with Gigaba on the stand

Mar 13 2018 05:45
Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba will appear before the Eskom Inquiry on Tuesday, while lawyers for the Gupta brothers say their clients are not in SA and so cannot take the stand. 

Gigaba is expected to give evidence on matters relating to his tenure as minister of public enterprises between 2009 and 2014.

The former finance minister was supposed to appear before the committee on public enterprises last week Tuesday, but requested more time to prepare. 

Gigaba has also been caught up in matters related to the naturalisation of the Guptas.

During last week's sitting the committee, which has been investigating allegations of maladministration at the state power utility since October 2017, said it needed to conclude its hearings urgently so that it could report back to Parliament.

It was suggested that the remaining witnesses be heard on the same day. These were set to include former South African Airways board chair Dudu Myeni, Gupta brothers Ajay and Atul and associates, as well as Gigaba.  

On Monday, however, Eskom Inquiry chair Zukiswa Rantho confirmed to Fin24 that she received a letter from the Guptas' lawyers to say their clients will not appear on Tuesday because they are not in South Africa.

Rantho said Myeni also sent a letter to say she would not appear due to ill health. Rantho said Myeni indicated she was unable to fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Myeni had previously apologised by SMS for not appearing before the inquiry in February. At the time she said her lawyer first had to become familiar with the matter.

This month Myeni made written submissions to the inquiry.

But these alone were not viewed as acceptable, given that committee members are supposed to be able to question witnesses, Rantho said when she discussed the matter with committee members last week.

No sick note from Myeni

At the time Rantho said she was still waiting for Myeni to send through a doctor’s certificate.

Committee member and Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Mazzone said in a statement that Myeni still has not presented a medical certificate.

The DA has said it will request that Myeni and the Guptas be summonsed to appear before the committee. 

Myeni was previously implicated in the testimony of former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi. Tsotsi said he met with Myeni in March 2015, at her request, at the Durban presidential residence.

According to Tsotsi, she discussed with him the suspension of Eskom’s then chief executive Tshediso Matona and executives Dan Marokane and Matshela Koko.

Myeni, however, denied this event in her written submission, ACDP MP Steven Swart said last week.

When asked if the inquiry would wrap up on Tuesday, Rantho said that she hoped so. She added that the committee has to table its report before Parliament "soon". 

The inquiry is expected to resume at 09:30.

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