Malusi Gigaba
Cape Town - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has made a U-turn on the Guptas and said he was worried about their influence in doing business with the government.

He said he backed a judicial commission of inquiry into the state capture.

Speaking on Talk Radio 702 on Friday, Gigaba said the allegations uncovered in the leaked emails on the influence of the Guptas were damaging to investor perceptions.

“I am very worried about that. I think we need to establish fact from allegation.”

“The fact there are allegations against an individual does not mean those allegations are true. That is why it is so important that we should fully support a judicial commission which will establish the truth and be able to provide clarity as to who has done what how did they do it who was complicit in the doing of that wrong and we then take the necessary decisions” Gigaba said.

He also said the Guptas had a negative impact on how lenders and ratings agencies view the state-owned entities.

“The allegations are quite damaging to investor perceptions, as well as ratings agencies, of the governance of our state-owned companies.”

Gigaba’s comments came a day after Eskom chief financial officer Anoj Singh was placed on suspension pending an investigation. This came after Gigaba and his Public Enterprises counterpart Lynne Brown intervened after the Development Bank of Southern Africa threatened to recall a R15billion loan to Eskom if no action was taken against Singh.

The bank had apparently flagged R3bn in expenditure that flouted the Public Finance Management Act.

Gigaba has been accused of having appointed Gupta associates to SOE boards when he was public enterprises minister.

Recent reports alleged he vetoed senior officials who refused to grant citizenship to the family after they did not meet requirements.

On reports that some of the problems dated back to his days in the department, Gigaba said it was important the portfolio committee established how far the problems went. “The issues that are under consideration relate to the audit findings over the past financial year when I was no longer in the Department of Public Enterprises. But if there are issues that go back, they need to go back.”

He was said while he was minister of public enterprises there had been no such problems. “Had those issues been reported to me I would have acted promptly on them as the minister has done.”

Weekend Argus