Joanmariae Fubbs, the chairperson of the committee, said the committee expected the investigation to have been concluded much earlier. File Photo: IOL

PRETORIA – The parliamentary portfolio committee on trade and industry has expressed its dissatisfaction about further delays to a forensic investigation into irregularities at the SA Bureau of Standards’ (SABS) coal testing for the Tegeta/Brakfontein mine.

The investigation was launched after allegations were made that the SABS irregularly certified substandard coal by Gupta-linked mines to facilitate the suspension imposed by Eskom on another supplier, this to pave the way for the Gupta-owned Tegeta contract to go ahead.

The forensic investigation was further delayed because of a possible conflict of interest by the appointed forensic auditors, SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG).

Eskom indicated that SNG was also their external auditor and, therefore, could not do the investigation because it would be a conflict of interest. SNG argued that its external auditing and forensic auditing units were two separate business units and therefore a conflict of interest did not exist.

Joanmariae Fubbs, the chairperson of the committee, said the committee expected the investigation to have been concluded much earlier.

Fubbs said the committee noted and welcomed the progress made at the SABS since the intervention thereby Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, who last month placed the SABS under administration after removing the bureau’s entire board in June because he had lost faith in its ability to effectively manage the organisation.

Two co-administrators were appointed as the accounting authority of the SABS and had been mandated to undertake a diagnostic analysis of the bureau, develop a turnaround strategy for the institution and implement this strategy in consultation with the Trade and Industry Department.

Garth Strachan, the acting SABS chief executive, said they had reviewed the leadership structure and created an interim organisational executive while the resolution of outstanding customer certificates was now being supported by the implementation of an optimised ICT system.

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- BUSINESS REPORT