Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste is to be summonsed to appear before a parliamentary hearing on the developments within the group.

This was decided by the four parliamentary committees — finance, trade and industry, public accounts, and public service and administration — that on Wednesday held a hearing on Steinhoff.

The summons follows Jooste’s refusal to appear voluntarily at the two hearings the committees have so far held.

His reasons are that he resigned as CEO on December 6 and therefore cannot make a meaningful contribution; and that he is facing investigation by the Financial Services Board and the Hawks.

Jooste says he faces FSB and Hawks investigations; Parliament says it is seeking to balance its right to summons against the right of an accused to a defence

Former Steinhoff chief financial officer Ben le Grange is to be given 10 days to agree to attend a hearing of the committees in mid-August, or he too will be issued with a summons.

He refused, via a letter from his attorney, to attend Wednesday’s hearing on the grounds that he had not been given sufficient notice.

Finance committee chairman Yunus Carrim said the concerns raised by Jooste would be dealt with by Parliament’s legal services unit and the office of the speaker of National Assembly Baleka Mbete.

The two would have to look at how to reconcile the right of Parliament to summons someone on a matter of public interest, on the one hand; and the right of an accused person to have the right of defence before any investigating or regulatory body that was also pursuing the matter.

"It seems to us that it is possible to balance both rights," Carrim said.

"We are not seeking to supplant the role of the regulatory authorities or the Hawks. But on the other hand, given the enormous ramifications of the collapse of the Steinhoff shares, Parliament has no choice but to have an oversight responsibility in this regard."