ANC MP asks for Guptas to be summoned as parliament grapples with state capture

Ajay and Atul Gupta Image by: MARTIN RHODES
ANC MPs are increasingly losing patience with the Gupta family’s sphere of influence in procurement deals of state-owned companies – such that they are considering summoning them to parliament.

The meeting was called to discuss progress that Denel had made regarding disciplinary action against three of its former top executives‚ CEO Riaaz Salooje‚ CFO Michael Mhlotho and company secretary Elizabeth Africa.

The trio have since left the company‚ between 2016 and 2017‚ after the Denel board had placed them on suspension following their refusal to comply with board members’ instructions to facilitate joint ventures with Gupta-linked firms Denel Asia and VR Laser SA.

President Jacob Zuma’s son‚ Duduzane Zuma‚ also has a stake in VR laser.

MPs said they did not understand why a state-owned enterprise needed financially struggling “middlemen” to grow their businesses in the Middle East and arms procurement markets.

“We’ve heard that suppliers‚ or some of the service providers in Denel‚ are all owned by the Gupta family. If that is the case‚ have the rightful supply chain processes been followed? If that’s not the case‚ then we ask the question: why is this Gupta name not blacklisted‚ why don’t we take them into a platform to say you are doing wrong in terms of the constitution?

“Let’s just call these Guptas and they must tell us how did they come to provide services at the level at which they are doing‚” said Luyenge. Portfolio committees have the authority to summon anybody or an operating entity in the country to appear before them in terms of the Powers‚ Privileges and Immunities of Parliament Act.

The name of the family that enjoys a cosy relationship with President Jacob Zuma was also a frequent feature when the controversial re-employment of Brian Molefe as Eskom CEO was being discussed on Tuesday by this very same committee.

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told Daniel Mantsha‚ the chairman of the Denel board‚ they had failed to demonstrate to the public that they had not been captured by certain families.

“We need to be convinced how it is possible that out of all the entities that might be involved‚ an entity belonging to a particular set of families‚ is always the one that we go to‚” he said.

It may be time for Eskom’s board to resign or be fired, says Pravin Gordhan

But Mantsha‚ a legal advisor to pro-Zuma minister Faith Muthambi‚ denied that the arms maker had been captured.

He suggested that MPs had been influenced by “fake news.”

He suggested that MPs had been influenced by “fake news.”

“All these perceptions are not born out of facts. Most of these perceptions are as a result of fake news that is filling our country and unfortunately‚ from where we’re sitting‚ it’s very difficult to deal with fake news. No‚ no‚ no‚ we run the business in the best interest of the republic…we have not been captured at all‚” said Mantsha.

But ANC MP Mondli Gugubele cautioned him to “stick to the facts and not venture into a debate with MPs”.

The committee has now resolved to call finance minister Malusi Gigaba and his public enterprises counterpart Lynne Brown to further account on the matter.

MPs have ordered Denel to submit due diligence reports by multi-national law firms Dentons and ENS Africa‚ which apparently advised against Denel’s business ventures with the Gupta-linked companies.

Thabo Mokone – Tiso Black Star Group/TimesLIVE

Leave a Reply