Speaking during the extraordinary public enterprises portfolio committee probing Molefe-gate, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan reiterated his calls for the committee to get to the bottom of the relationship between the Guptas and Eskom board members.
Gordhan, who opted to go back to being an ordinary MP after he was fired in President Zuma’s last Cabinet reshuffle, arrived slightly late to the meeting taking place in parliament this morning.
This prompted the committee chairperson to introduce him retrospectively as a member of the committee, together with Ekurhuleni former executive mayor Mondli Gungubele.
Humorously thanking the committee for the opportunity to give a “maiden speech”, Gordhan went for the jugular.
“The questions are plenty, and the answers are all over the show and lack credibility. Let me also contest matters here, chairperson. I am not sure if the board lives in its oblivion. The public is connecting the dots. They are increasingly aware that you are abusing state resources, in the name of yourselves and not South Africans.”
Gordhan continued his crusade against state capture, a mission he had momentarily abandoned upon being axed.
“They [public] are aware attempt to capture Eskom for the benefit a few. We are reaching a stage in governance where many people [in senior positions] are saying: ‘I don’t care how many reports the public protector release because I am protected’,” he told the committee.
He warned that the chaos at Eskom might negatively affect the economy. “This is a critical institution in the South African economy, as we learnt in 2011. If Eskom does not work, it has massive impact on the economy. This is not just an isolated incident. It is a pattern. Last week, SACC produced a preliminary report which helped us connect the dots,” he continued.
Gordhan also warned Eskom board members and the minister to stop “lying with a straight face”.
Gordhan was also critical of the Gupta family. “Here we are are passing state resources to a handful of beneficiaries,” he said, and recommended the committee to interrogate some of the decisions Molefe made at Transnet, where he was the CFO.
The committee members, before the hearing adjourned for a short recess, unequivocally told the board chairperson, Dr Ben Ngubane, that he would have to give answers to the committee, as his excuse that the matters under discussion were subjudice, because the case currently at court was “archaic”, did not apply.