Eskom 'capture' inquiry: MPs won't tolerate 'Gupta tantrums'

07 December 2017 - 06:34 By Thabo Mokone
Ajay Gupta and his younger brother Atul.
Ajay Gupta and his younger brother Atul.

Parliament's inquiry into the alleged capture of Eskom has been adjourned for the year, with MPs saying attacks on them have only served "to make them stronger".

The MPs have also said that they will not allow "Gupta tantrums" to disrupt their efforts to uncover corruption and financial mismanagement at the power utility after Ajay Gupta and his family wrote to the public enterprises committee conducting the inquiry, dictating terms of engagement between them and the oversight body.

The parliamentary committee has been attacked by those seen as Gupta supporters, such as the Black First Land First movement and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, who has likened it to a kangaroo court. Some ANC MPs - seen as supporters of President Jacob Zuma - have tried in vain to stop it from going ahead.

ANC MP and acting chairman of the inquiry Zukiswa Rantho and DA MP Natasha Mazzone have received death threats for their work in the inquiry and evidence leader advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara has allegedly been offered a bribe by State Security Minister Bongani Bongo, who was apparently doing so on the instructions of acting CEO of Eskom's board Zethembe Khoza. He has consistently denied the allegation.

Wrapping up the proceedings ahead of the festive season break, Rantho said MPs across the political spectrum had done sterling work in the past six months in exposing the extent of the rot plaguing Eskom.

Rantho said the inquiry was likely to resume in mid-January. It has resolved to summons Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins after he snubbed the inquiry on Wednesday.

In a letter, Martins said his written submission to the committee sufficed and he saw no reason to present himself for interrogation.

"Those who see this process as undermining them, I just want to say we are serving the country," said Rantho.

The committee has decided to summons Ajay Gupta and other members of his family implicated in the capture of Eskom.

The Guptas sent two separate letters to the committee - one from Ajay and the other from the whole family - in which they asked parliament to engage them via written questions and to give them 10 days' notice if they were called.

ANC MP Mondli Gungubele said: "If [the Guptas] want to talk to us, let's arrange that they come and sit here and answer questions."