Gordhan and Parliamentary committee stand-off continues

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan warned parliament against some of the documents public. Picture: Kopano Tlape GCIS

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan warned parliament against some of the documents public. Picture: Kopano Tlape GCIS

Published Mar 7, 2024


The stand-off between the parliamentary committee and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan continued after it emerged parliament’s legal advisers decided that the meeting over the sale of SAA be partially closed.

The official opposition said it would not take part in a sham meeting and wanted it to be open to the public.

Democratic Alliance (DA) member of parliament and party spokesperson on public enterprises Mimmy Gondwe said they were disappointed that legal advisers of parliament said the meeting should be partially closed.

In a letter to the chairperson of the portfolio committee on public enterprises, Khaya Magaxa, Gordhan said the meeting has to be held behind closed doors because of the commercial sensitive nature of some of the documents,

He said if this information was made available to the public it could lead to legal challenges against Parliament and the department of public enterprises.

“The disclosure of this information may give rise to claims against Parliament and the department,” said Gordhan.

He added that the documents that can be released to the public were the appointment of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) as a transaction adviser and the update on the strategic equity partner process.

But the minister said they have been advised that the documents that cannot be made public were the RMB evaluation report on the shortlising of parties for a strategic equity partnership, the Harith expression of interest and the sale of share agreement.

He said he has been advised that if the committee decides to go ahead and release the documents if will face legal action.

Gordhan said while some documents on the SAA sale can be made available to the public, two other documents should be kept away from the public eye.

“As indicated in my letter of May 4, some parts of he documents that the committee requested are confidential and should be subject to a confidentiality regime for the following reasons:

“It is information relating to negotiation processes both in 2021 and currently, and disclosure of which may adversely affect those processes, to the detriment of government and the public interest. Please note that the negotiation on this transaction is continuing to take cognisant of current market conditions and revised valuations. There is no certainty as to the outcome of this process. However, in the absence of an agreed amended sale of shares agreement, the conditions of the original sale of shares agreement remain legally binding,” wrote Gordhan to Magaxa.

He added that some of the documents were commercially sensitive and if they made public would give competitors of SAA an advantage against the airline.

He said if the information was released it could expose parliament to legal action.

Gordhan and the committee have been at loggerheads in the last few months over the release of documents for the sale of the majority stake of SAA to Takatso.

The committee has been calling for Gordhan to come clean on the deal.

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