Cape Town - Members of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) were left fuming over the non-appearance of a key player in the issue of police investigations into the allegations made by Eskom’s former chief executive, André de Ruyter.
Police investigator Brigadier Jaap Burger, who was police commissioner Fannie Masemola’s appointed intelligence gathering go-between with De Ruyter and had been expected to appear at yesterday’s committee meeting, was a no-show, leaving Scopa unable to question him about De Ruyter’s claims of corruption, sabotage and maladministration at Eskom.
It was left to Masemola to explain to the committee that Burger had raised concerns about his personal security about appearing in public before the committee, even though Masemola himself had instructed him to do so.
Masemola told the committee that he had made a request to the chairperson for Burger to appear in camera, but the request had been rejected. He said he had received oral feedback from Burger about his discussions with De Ruyter.
“He wasn’t given the Fivaz report but he was given information.”
The police commissioner was referring to the report produced by George Fivaz Forensic and Risk (GFFR) which De Ruyter had asked to investigate his claims of wrongdoing at Eskom.
On learning that Burger was not present, committee member Bheki Hadebe (ANC) said Masemola should have obtained a written report from Burger before appearing before the committee.
Scopa’s chairperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa (IFP), said Burger was absent without leave as he had not sent an apology to the committee.
“His absence handicaps this meeting. It is insubordination of the national police commissioner and highly problematic as Burger is an integral part of our assessment of the issues.”
Committee member Alf Lees (DA) said Burger’s absence had rendered the meeting of little use.
Lees said: “The whole purpose of this meeting was to question Burger. We must summons him and if there is a security threat to him, then the police must protect him.”
He said it was vital for Scopa to answer questions about his interactions with De Ruyter and argued there was no need for an in camera meeting as Burger’s name was already in the public domain.
Later in the proceedings, Special Investigating Unit head Andy Mothibi told the committee that the unit had been in touch with GFFR and was now in possession of the Fivaz report.
Adjourning the meeting after nearly three hours, Hlengwa said he would consult with Parliament’s legal team on how to move forward with Burger’s appearance.