Eskom inquiry’s terms of reference broaden
Public enterprises committee chairwoman vows investigation will leave no stone unturned
The terms of reference of the inquiry into Eskom that will be undertaken by Parliament’s public enterprises committee have been broadened to cover state capture as it affects the Department of Public Enterprises and state-owned enterprises, particularly Transnet and Denel.
Committee chairwoman Zukiswa Rantho also gave the assurance on Tuesday that the three Gupta brothers as well as President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma would be called as witnesses to the inquiry, which will get under way in mid-August. She stressed that the committee would "leave no stone unturned" to get to the bottom of allegations of corruption at Eskom.
MPs were unanimous that the inquiry should have an experienced legal practitioner as an evidence leader, as was the case in the SABC inquiry.
The broader terms of reference include the original version adopted by the committee in June but which were narrowed down in a document presented to MPs on Tuesday. The original terms of reference as adopted by the committee were that the inquiry would look into the circumstances surrounding the reappointment of Brian Molefe as group CEO of Eskom, the processes followed in determining his retirement package and allegations of state of capture affecting the Department of Public Enterprises and state-owned companies.
The revised terms of reference include the reappointment of Molefe; Eskom’s role in the purchase by Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources of Optimum Coal Holdings; the awarding of about R11.7bn worth of coal supply contracts at inflated prices to Tegeta; the R43m contract with the Guptas’ media company TNA; payments of over R400m to Trillian Capital Partners for management consulting and advisory services; and allegations of impropriety against former acting CEO Matshela Koko.
Witnesses have been identified on all these issues, including Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, Molefe, Koko, Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh and other Eskom and Treasury officials.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu and African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart urged that the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Police Service be called to report back on progress with investigations, while DA finance spokesman David Maynier wanted the inquiry to focus on Eskom’s controversial diesel contracts.
He also wants Gupta associate Ashu Chawla and director-general of the public enterprises department Richard Seleke to be called as witnesses.