CAPE TOWN – The Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, has authorised the Standing Committee on Finance (SCoF) to summon the former chief executive of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste and the former chief financial officer, Ben la Grange, to give evidence before the relevant committees of Parliament.
Following a legal opinion obtained by the Office of the Speaker on the matter, Mbete gave a thumbs up for the inquiry of the SCoF into the nature, causes and consequences of the sudden collapse of Steinhoff’s share value that resulted in investors and pension funds losing billions of rand, and thousands of jobs being threatened internationally and in South Africa.
In terms of Section 56 of the Constitution, the National Assembly and its committees are empowered to summon not only state organs to account to Parliament, but any private person, institution or regulatory body to provide evidence on any legitimate matter of public interest which falls within the scope of their oversight mandate.
“The SCoF is planning to summon the former chief executive and chief financial officer of Steinhoff to focus on institutional flaws and challenges existing in our financial regulatory framework or any implementation challenges in our financial regulatory framework, which might have caused or given rise to the Steinhoff debacle.
“Therefore, the inquiry is not a criminal investigation establishing criminal liability, nor is it a civil inquiry establishing civil liability of Steinhoff or its employees,” read a statement released by Parliament on Tuesday.