Parliamentary presiding officers set to appear before the Zondo Commission
Johannesburg - The Parliament’s presiding officers, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo, are due to appear before the commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture on Monday.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said on Sunday that Modise and Masondo will present Parliament’s perspective on the state capture during their appearance at the Zondo Commission.
“Their appearance before the commission provides an opportunity for Parliament to articulate its oversight mandate and role as well as clarify the many questions asked by the public on how corruption incidents and excesses could have happened under its watch,” Mothapo said.
“The presiding officers are hopeful that their participation in the commission will contribute in assisting it to fulfil its mandate, correct the wrongs committed and set a path towards a better and improved governance,” he said.
The presiding officers, however, are expected to be grilled about damning evidence heard about the alleged capture of Alexkor Mine in the Northern Cape by politicians and business people.
In January, a long-time contractor of Alexkor Mine told the commission that Parliament had done nothing about his reports of the alleged capture of the state-owned Alexkor Mine by politicians and business elites of South Africa.
Gavin Craythorne of Equitable Access Campaign (EAC) told the commission that the capture of Alexkor - a state-owned diamond mining company - began with the appointment of Malusi Gigaba as Public Enterprises Minister in 2010.
He said Gigaba, since his appointment, had started propagating the diversification of Alexkor Mine into the coal sector in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
According to Craythorne, Gigaba and the Alexkor Mine bosses expressed mixed feelings about the future of Alexkor, saying the former minister claimed that Alexkor would retain its role in the diamond industry but would only venture into coal later but said mine bosses sang a different tune.
“The mine bosses, particularly Alexkor Mine board chairperson Mervyn Cartens, had on numerous occasions told Parliament that in the next five to 10 years there would be no diamonds to mine at Alexkor. They’ve misled Parliament. Alexkor Mine had in the past 100 years of existence only mined 10% of the mining assets. This was due to the lack of technology. Since the evolution of technology, more diamonds could be mined. Alexkor Mine is still a gem of diamonds in the world. In fact the entire West Coast, including Namibia,” Craythorne said.
He said the Namibian government and De Beers were still extracting worthy diamonds between the borders of South Africa and Namibia, saying it was proof to him that the West Coast still had large deposits of diamonds.
According to him, the diversification of Alexkor was to allow TransHex and De Beers to take control of the affairs of Alexkor, which would have excluded the residents of Alexander Bay and the Richtersveld.
In his testimony, the alleged planned capture of the Alexkor Mine was contained in a QuestCo document allegedly authored by De Beers, TransHeX, Alexkor Mine board members and the Richtersveld Communal Property Association (CPA).
“I made reports to Parliament about it and they did nothing. If Parliament had done its job, I would not be sitting here,” Craythorne said.