South Africa: Inquiry into ‘capture’ of state-owned enterprises kicks off in Parliament

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Some of the witnesses expected to appear before the inquiry include the former and current Eskom board members as well as Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.
The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises began its inquiry into state capture at state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) on Tuesday.
Professor Anton Eberhard from the University of Cape Town briefed the committee on what it could reference when interviewing various witnesses, including former and current Eskom board members as well as Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and her predecessor Malusi Gigaba.
“The reference book sets out to provide an independent, accessible, concise and fact-based account of some, but not all, of the alleged instances of governance failure and capture at the largest state-owned companies,” Eberhard said.
In her opening remarks, acting committee chairwoman Zukiswa Rantho said the inquiry would comprise three parts, “the Eskom inquiry, the Transnet inquiry and the Denel inquiry.”
She said that the inquiry formed part of Parliament’s oversight role and did not replace other legislative processes and added that no one should be seen guilty of wrongdoing and that anyone accused of said wrongdoings will be given an opportunity to give their version.
Eberhard said the committee was likely to make findings concerning the way in which the governance of Eskom had been undermined as well as re-purposed to materially benefit an elite that is politically connected and this while compromising national economic and social development.
He indicated that the Committee will be making recommendations when it concludes its inquiry.
Recommendations in the reference book consider prosecuting culpable individuals, reforming governance, and restructuring the country’s electricity sector so that corruption is minimised in future.
“The inquiry has potential to illuminate both the past and the future,” said Eberhard.
The Committee welcomed the presentation of the reference book, with Rantho saying: “The Committee appreciates the overview provided by the reference booklet as this is a complex matter. The information presented raises serious allegations about state resources.”
Security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of witnesses for the duration of the inquiry, which will continue on Wednesday where the Committee will receive a briefing from OUTA and “one important witness”.