File picture: David Ritchie
Parliament has undertaken to ensure that the four committees probing allegations of state capture in state-owned enterprises have resources to meet their constitutional mandate.

This comes after concerns were raised that Parliament could be placing a stranglehold on the committees by not providing them with the resources they needed.

In June, chairman of committees Cedric Frolick ordered the committees on home affairs, mineral resources, public enterprises and transport to “urgently” probe allegations of “state capture” emanating from the trove of Gupta e-mails implicating several ministers.

However, during the meeting of the public enterprises committee it emerged that the preferred evidence leader, advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, who was involved in the SABC ad hoc committee, will not be available to assist the committee with advice.

Vanara is no longer with the institution’s legal services after he was placed in the office of the registrar of members’ interests.

“Importantly, if Parliament cannot source the needed legal services from inside Parliament then it needs to take on an advocate from outside of Parliament to do the job,” DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said.

He also said the committee would require the experience of an advocate experienced in litigation. “The committee will also require assistance from experts in engineering and the procurement of large infrastructure projects at a minimum.”

Steenhuisen also said Parliament has a constitutional duty to investigate the damning state capture evidence which continued to be exposed through the leaked e-mails, alongside the public protector’s report into state capture.

“In order to properly fulfil that duty, parliamentary committees need to be properly resourced to handle such in-depth investigations,” he said.

Steenhuisen decried tha fact that a single ad hoc committee on state capture had not been formed at his party’s request.

“Had this proceeded, then only one committee would have required such a high level of resourcing. Now at least four committees require this support if they are to stand any chance of getting to the bottom of the rot within the ANC led-government,” Steenhuisen said.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said there was no intention of limiting resources available to committees to enable them to perform their oversight mandate properly.

“Parliament has every intention of providing committees with the resources to carry out their constitutional mandate, which includes the inquiry into Eskom and other public enterprises,” Mothapo said.

He also said that since Vanara was unavailable to be evidence leader, Parliament would again look for another official to execute the role from within their legal services.

Pretoria News

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