Parliament, Tuesday, 17 October 2017 – The Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises has begun its inquiry into state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The Committee was briefed by Prof Anton Eberhard from the University of Cape Town on the Eskom Inquiry Reference Book, which has been prepared for the inquiry. “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,” said Prof Eberhard.
The Acting Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Zukiswa Rantho, said in her opening remarks that the inquiry will comprise three parts: the Eskom inquiry, the Transnet inquiry and the Denel inquiry. She said the inquiry formed part of Parliament's oversight role and did not replace other legislative processes. Ms Rantho said no one during the inquiry should be seen as guilty of wrongdoing. In addition, she said anyone accused of wrongdoing during the investigation will be given an opportunity to give their version.
Prof Eberhard said the Committee will likely make findings concerning the manner in which the governance of the state-owned electricity company has been undermined and re-purposed to materially benefit a politically connected elite, while compromising national economic and social development.
Prof Eberhard indicated that the Committee will make recommendations when the Committee concludes its inquiry. Some of the suggested recommendations in the reference book consider prosecuting culpable individuals, reforming governance, and restructuring the country’s electricity so that corruption is less possible in future. “The inquiry has potential to illuminate both the past and the future,” said Prof Eberhard.
The Committee welcomed the presentation of the reference book and said it will assist Members of the Committee in its inquiry.
Ms Rantho said, “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.”
Parliament has set up security measures to ensure the safety of witnesses for the duration of the inquiry.
The inquiry will continue tomorrow (Wednesday, 18 October) at 09:30 at the Old Assembly Chamber. The Committee will receive a briefing from OUTA and one important witness.
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