Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba. File picture: Bongani Shilubane/ANA Pictures
Parliament has become the latest battleground between President Jacob Zuma's supporters and his detractors.

The recent multiple-committee investigations ordered by the House into the influence of Zuma’s friends, the Guptas, and their associates in the government have put the ministers involved, who mostly support the president, on the back foot.

Portfolio committees of home affairs, public enterprises and transport are set to probe allegations of state capture by the Guptas.

Former Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown are among those in the firing line.

Last week, fuming MPs summoned current finance minister Gigaba to Parliament to explain the process of making some of the Gupta family members South African citizens. 

Even Zuma said he was surprised there were multiple investigations in Parliament, arguing he would prefer a single comprehensive probe by the commission of inquiry he was setting up.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told the Gauteng provincial general council that already four party members had confirmed the veracity of the leaked Gupta e-mails. They showed how the Guptas influenced appointments of senior board members to some of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

One senior ANC MP said there was no agenda against anyone in the committees' investigations.

“What we are saying to the committees is that if your minister is affected, investigate him or her. If you look at all the committees, it is the ministers who are affected by state capture.

"This thing does not need caucus to discuss it,” said the MP.

Another party MP said that they did not read any political motive into it.

House chairperson Cedric Frolick on Saturday defended his decision to set up investigations into the allegations of state capture, saying there was no agenda against anyone ahead of the policy and elective conferences of the governing party.

“It’s those people’s views.

"People have different views and they are entitled to their views,” he added.

Frolick said portfolio committees did not have deadlines unless they were making appointments to the boards of SOEs or responding to the Constitutional Court judgments.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said there were issues that required urgent investigation which could not wait for a commission of inquiry.

He said Parliament was correct to set up multiple investigations because of the urgency on some matters.

“There are issues that can’t wait for a commission of inquiry. If a minister shared sensitive cabinet information that cannot wait for a commission. Not everything can wait for a commission of inquiry. It’s a decision in the right direction,” added Kodwa.

“We must investigate the veracity of the allegations because at the heart is the integrity of the state,” he said.

Sunday Independent