Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste agrees to appear in parliament
The DA says the new terms of his appearance are 'bizarre' and 'a deviation from the original summons'
Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste has agreed to appear before parliament on September 5.
He will face questions by members of parliament’s finance, trade and industry, public accounts, and public service and administration committees about the collapse of the global furniture retailer, in his first public pronouncements since he resigned from Steinhoff in December last year.
Jooste has kept a very low profile and not said anything publicly about the collapse of the group since he left.
Jooste’s departure was prompted by the revelation of accounting irregularities in the group which precipitated a dramatic slide in the Steinhoff share price.
The questions by MPs have been strictly circumscribed however in terms of an agreement reached between Jooste, acting secretary to parliament Penelope Tyawa and finance committee chairman Yunus Carrim in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday before acting justice Deidre Kusevitsky.
In terms of the agreement of court, Tyawa agreed to withdrew the summons issued on Jooste to appear at the meeting on Wednesday.
In terms of the agreement Jooste agreed to appear before the committees on September 5 and not Wednesday this week.
The four committees will continue with their meeting on Wednesday, at which former CFO Ben la Grange has agreed to appear.
Regulators will also give an update on their investigations into Steinhoff.
Jooste agreed to give evidence under oath and to be questioned “to identify any institutional flaws and challenges existing in the relevant financial regulatory framework or any implementation challenges in the financial regulatory framework which might have caused or given rise to the collapse of the value of Steinhoff shares”.
Jooste had previously refused to appear voluntarily before parliament on the grounds that he was no longer CEO and could not answer questions on behalf of the group; and also because there was the possibility that he could prejudice himself in relation to any future criminal or civil cases.
Democratic Alliance finance spokesman David Maynier said the terms of Jooste's participation in the committee hearing was strange.
“It is bizarre that Markus Jooste will be now be summoned to assist in identifying flaws and challenges in the regulation of the financial system,” Maynier said.
“It’s rather like asking King Herod to assist in identifying flaws and challenges in the regulation of childcare facilities.
“It’s a deviation from the original summons, which would have required Markus Jooste to ‘give an overview of the circumstances that led to the collapse in the value of the share price and answer related questions.’ We are going to have to get to the bottom of how this happened.”