Brown grilled over Gupta links | Fin24
 
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Brown grilled over Gupta links

Apr 26 2016 12:08
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town - Opposition parties on Tuesday laid into Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown for allowing the controversial Gupta family to infiltrate South Africa’s state-owned companies.

In her budget speech for the 2016-17 financial year, Brown said the government needs to retain its ownership of state-owned companies to ensure economic growth and create employment for generations to come.

READ: Lynne Brown: SOEs must stay in government hands

Responding to the speech, the Democratic Alliance's (DA's) Natasha Mazzone said the Department of Public Enterprises was originally established as a catalyst for privatisation. “But nowadays we are seeing privatisation in a reprehensible fashion by allowing the Guptas to gain influence in our state-owned companies.”

Mazzone called on the chairperson of the oversight committee on public enterprises to summons the Gupta family, as well as former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan and her replacement, Malusi Gigaba, to account for allegations of preferential treatment of the Gupta family.

She cited the resignation of former Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi, the dismissal of Hogan and the suspension of three executives at Denel recently as examples of how the Guptas have “captured” state-owned companies.

“The minister will call me negative and say I’m bringing down the country, but the DA can’t support this budget,” Mazzone concluded.

The Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF's) Nthako Matiase accused Brown of “facilitating the rot and the looting of state resources”.

“The EFF therefore won’t support this budget vote, because we won’t be party to this looting.”

Matiase also said that a department of public enterprises is superfluous and that the various state-owned companies should move to their line function departments. “Denel must go to the Department of Defence, etc.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party's Narend Singh echoed this sentiment. “I’m asking: is there a need for the department to continue existing? The answer is ‘no’, because of the law of diminishing returns,” Singh said.

        

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