Cabinet ministers implicated in the “leaked” emails that detail improper actions to advance the business interests of the Gupta family will be subjected to scrutiny by Parliament’s committees.
This is happening as responses by some ministers to the emails, which expose state capture, contradict what is contained in the correspondence involving members of the Gupta family, government officials and their business associates.
Among the members of the executive featured in the emails are Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen, Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane.
On Monday, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said portfolio committees had been directed to urgently probe the allegations and report back to the National Assembly.
Mothapo said House chairperson of committees Cedric Frolick had last week written to the chairpersons of portfolio committees on Home Affairs, Mineral Resources, Public Enterprises and Transport.
Frolick, he said, had advised the chairpersons to ensure immediate engagement with the ministers concerned so that Parliament could get to the bottom of the allegations.
“While no specific deadline has been set for the submission of the outcome of these investigations, the committees have been urged to begin with the work and report their recommendations to the House urgently,” Mothapo said.
“Parliament, as a representative body of the people of South Africa, shoulders the constitutional responsibility of ensuring that matters of major public interest are dealt with as expected by the people.”
The emails are already the subject of a probe by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
The latest move by Parliament comes almost two weeks after the cabinet noted the media reports on the “leaked emails” implicating government officials and other people in criminal wrong-doing.
The cabinet had urged those with information of malpractice by government officials or ministers to inform law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, Zwane has again denied that the Guptas had flown him to Switzerland a year ago.
“The trip was organised and paid for by the Department of Mineral Resources,” he said in response to a parliamentary question from Cope’s Mosiuoa Lekota.
In another question from Cope’s Willie Madisha, he gave the same response.
Madisha wanted Zwane to clarify himself in reference to his parliamentary replies last year and “in view of the leaked emails that have been published in the media recently, which indicate that he had travelled to Switzerland with a number of members of a certain family…”
He reiterated his previous parliamentary replies.
“The minister and officials from the department made an official trip as part of his mandate,” he said.
Responding to another question from Lekota about his position on allegations that the Guptas were involved in his appointment, and his CV had been sent to the family, Zwane said: “The president appoints ministers, assigns their powers and functions and may dismiss them.”
Zwane’s responses are despite reports from leaked documents and emails showing that he flew to Switzerland with the Guptas and their associates in their private jet.
It has been reported that he was booked into a five-star hotel paid for by a Gupta company, Sahara Computers, and that he was chauffeured around in a BMW 7 Series.
When he was asked about his trip to Switzerland, Zwane stated he had gone there on an official trip.
Similar questions were recently asked by the Freedom Front Plus’s Anton Alberts, but Zwane has stuck to his guns.