CAPE TOWN – Parliamentary standing committees on finance on Thursday voiced their concerns about the Hawks investigations into the Steinhoff matter, saying the former is not doing enough.
The standing committees – the Standing Committee on Public Accounts; the Portfolio Committees on Trade and Industry and; the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration – had a 10-hour oversight meeting on Steinhoff matters on Wednesday.
Speaking on behalf of the committees, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance Yunus Carrim said the collapse of the Steinhoff shares was the biggest corporate scandal in South Africa’s history, and those responsible must be made to pay. “The private sector in this country gets away too easily with its crimes.”
In a statement on Thursday the committees said they would write to the Minister of Police Bheki Cele and the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, to urge them to ensure that the Hawks do their Steinhoff investigation effectively.
“Our prime concern though is the abysmal performance of the Hawks. Of course, we realise the complex and global nature of the investigation, but it’s clear that the Hawks are doing very little beyond having meetings with no results.
“The Hawks need to be provided with the necessary capacity and the resources to conduct an effective and expeditious investigation. This could include drawing in expertise from elsewhere,” said Carrim.
Steinhoff’s former chief financial officer Ben la Grange told MPs on Wednesday that the billions of rand lost by the Public Investment Committee (PIC), which manages pension funds on behalf of South Africa's public servants, after the share price collapse were almost irrecoverable.
La Grange said he did not think what Steinhoff's second biggest shareholder lost would be recouped.
- BUSINESS REPORT