NEWS & ANALYSIS

Summon the Guptas to parliament - Natasha Mazzone

DA MP says family must answer for undue influence they seem to enjoy over President Zuma

Summon the Guptas to Parliament

08 March 2016

The DA will today write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Public Enterprises requesting that the Gupta brothers are summoned to Parliament in terms of rule 138(a) of the National Assembly (NA) Rules to answer for what appears to be the undue influence they enjoy over President Jacob Zuma which they seem to have exerted over government and its officials. Under this rule, Parliament is empowered to“summon any person to appear before it to give evidence on oath or affirmation, or to produce documents.”

This follows a slew of business agreements the Guptas have entered into with the South African government. It is indeed common knowledge that the Gupta brothers are close to President Zuma, and one of his sons, Duduzane Zuma, is a shareholder in a number of companies owned by the family. 

In fact, just last month reports confirmed that the Competition Commission is presently investigating the deal between Glencore, who owned Optimum Mines, and the Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration. There is much controversy and secrecy around the deal. It is undeniable that Eskom remains the country's largest purchaser of coal and it is essential that all contracts that affect this state owned entity are closely scrutinised and proved to be above board and free from any form of corruption. Now more than ever, following Eskom's request to NERSA of a 16,6% electricity tariff increase, it is essential that all suppliers must be providing competitive pricing and top quality produce. 

From hundreds of thousands of taxpayer rands being given to the Gupat’s New Age Breakfasts by government departments and a slew of government deals which appear to have been obtained irregularly; the time has come for the Guptas to appear before Parliament so that it may satisfy us that they have not been receiving unabated preferential treatment from government departments and from the President himself.

For far too long Parliament has stood on the side-lines while this culture of “corporate capture” by the Guptas and the influence they exerted on Cabinet Ministers has been allowed to pervade seemingly outside the prescripts of competitive tender and procurement procedures. 

Parliament needs to satisfy itself that organs of state and the prescripts that govern them are not being pilfered for the benefit of the elite few and to the detriment of so many South Africans who should be allowed to bid fairly and make an honest living.

Statement issued by Natasha Mazzone MP, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, 8 March 2016