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Gordhan’s no-show leaves MPs infuriated

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has left Parliament unhappy with his failure to attend a meeting. Picture:Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has left Parliament unhappy with his failure to attend a meeting. Picture:Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA

Published Aug 31, 2023


Members of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on public enterprises have been left fuming after Minister Pravin Gordhan failed to show up for the meeting.

Gordhan wrote to the committee the night before the meeting that he was not well and that doctors had advised him not to fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

But members of the committee were infuriated and said they cannot continue waiting for Gordhan, and suggested that this could be a delaying tactic.

Gordhan was accused by the former Director-General in the department, Kgathatso Tlhakudi, of alleged impropriety in the SAA deal.

But Gordhan had denied the allegations against him.

The public enterprises committee, chaired by ANC MP Khaya Magaxa, said it wanted Gordhan to answer to the allegations made by Tlhakudi.

When the committee met on Thursday, Magaxa said Gordhan had written a letter saying he would not be able to attend the meeting due to ill-health.

But members of the committee said they were not happy with it.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Nqobile Mhlongo accused Gordhan of using delaying tactics.

She said he was running away from parliament and did not want to account for what happened at SAA.

"It is very disappointing that the minister is not here, and we have got a lot of questions that we need to ask him in relation to this issue. Since he is not here, it’s obvious the meeting will not proceed. The minister is running away from accountability. Clearly, he does not want to come here and answer questions," said Mhlongo.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Ghaleb Cachalia also said this was not the first time Gordhan has postponed the meeting.

He said it was the second time he had done this. He said the committee had offered him two opportunities to respond to the allegations made by Tlhakudi, but on both occasions he failed to show up for the meeting.

He said they must not allow this situation to continue because they want answers on the SAA deal.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi said he has noted the letter by Gordhan, and this is unfortunate because the committee cannot deal with this matter.

At some point, they have to deal with it and put it behind them. Buthelezi said he did not think Gordhan was prioritising the committee. If he did, he would have come before them to address all the issues that were raised by the former director general.

Magaxa said they need to find a new date to meet with Gordhan. He said the secretariat of the committee will have to liaise with Gordhan’s office to find a suitable date.

"We were supposed to have done away with this a long time ago, and the minister has been responsible for this delay. To avoid more suspicions, the minister must treat this as a matter of urgency. But if the minister is advised not to fly, you cannot fly. If the minister can’t fly, the committee will be compelled to fly to meet him," said Magaxa.

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