The parliamentary portfolio committee on mineral resources agreed on Wednesday morning to pursue a formal inquiry after Minister Mosebenzi Zwane again failed to turn up to answer questions on State Capture.
The minister was scheduled to respond to allegations relating to his dealings with the Gupta family, in particular his role in the Vrede dairy farm, which helped bankroll the Gupta family wedding. The meeting on a date Zwane requested also came shortly after the decision to resume discussions on the Mining Charter. Zwane was excluded from the initial talks.
It is not the first time Zwane has failed to turn up for similar meetings on State Capture. Excuses given including a previous meeting in November have included illness, exams, and Wednesday mornings explanation: a claim that he would appear before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), though there was no such scheduled sitting.
MPs, to put it mildly, were not impressed. And if the results of Zwanes attempts to outrun questioning are anything to go by, other ministers in similar positions should be very nervous.
Zwane is not the only minister facing the chop following allegations of State Capture. During the SONA debate, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu called for the removal of Zwane, Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Des Van Rooyen, Faith Muthambi, and Ben Martins.
Sahlulele Luzipo, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources, argued that issuing a subpoena for Zwane to appear before the committee could simply create further delays and give the impression that the committee is not serious.
We have had this decision before as a committee, he said. He also argued that Zwane had resist(ed) to come on multiple occasions already.
But on the negative side, once a formal inquiry was instituted, that is the route you are taking and all other persons would be subjected to it, he added.
It would also be necessary to consider the requirements of an inquiry, such as personnel, he said.
However, MPs from the ANC, EFF and DA all called for a formal inquiry and said Zwane should be subpoenaed to appear. The DA, for its part wanted a full-scale inquiry into State Capture in the Department of Mineral Resources.
There is a clear indication that he (Zwane) does not want to come, said the EFFs Thembinkosi Rawula.
Rawula also called for the Mineral Resources Committee to compile a list of names of people who could testify against Zwane.
Luzipo, for his part, said Zwane had placed the committee in a dilemma through his persistent failure to co-operate. We have said we must be fair, he said. We must give the minister a chance if he is the subject of an inquiry. He must be given the chance to rebut any evidence given. We are in a dilemma now In light of this I am sorry to start the meeting afresh, he said, when it became clear the meeting would be devoted to discussing what to do about Zwanes non-attendance.
Once the decision was taken to pursue an inquiry, he added: It doesnt mean someone is going to say what you want to hear when they appear in front of the committee. It may not help to pin down what went wrong. But others may come and say hey, this is what went wrong. We are not looking to say this went wrong, we are looking for what we can discover. And if he (Zwane) feels he is not being treated fairly he can say I can be given the right to clarify myself.
But he added: Things are flying so fast now, anything may happen. DM
File Photo: Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane (GCIS)
Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!
No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.
Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.
It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.
But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.
So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.
"What's the sense in having an eclipse if you can't look at it? Somebody in production sure slipped up this time!" ~ Charles M. Schulz