The Democratic Alliance says it is increasingly concerned that Parliament may be placing a stranglehold on the committees tasked with investigating state capture by not providing them with the resources they need.
According to the DA’s chief whip‚ John Steenhuisen‚ on Tuesday this week‚ the Public Enterprises Committee held a preparatory meeting to establish the groundwork of its investigation into state capture at Eskom. It was made clear that a qualified evidence leader would be needed to assist the committee with this vital enquiry. Specifically‚ Adv Nthuthuzelo Vanara‚ who was the evidence leader for the SABC Ad Hoc Committee‚ was requested.
However‚ during the meeting‚ the Chairperson received communication from House chairperson of committees Cedric Frolick which made it clear that due to his current workload as the Registrar of Members Interests‚ Vanara may be able to assist the committee with advice‚ but would not be available to perform the role of evidence leader.
“Limiting the resources of these committees aligns directly with the agenda of the ANC – make it look like action is being taken but prevent that action from ever actually getting to the heart of the problem. The sudden about turn of the ANC in Parliament should after all be recognised for what it is – an exercise in damage control rather than a real attempt at rooting out corruption‚” said Steenhuisen.
Importantly‚ he added‚ 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.
“Given the scope of the Public Enterprises Eskom enquiry it is our contention that the committee will require the expertise 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.
“Parliament has a Constitutional duty to investigate the damning state capture evidence which continues to be exposed through the leaked emails‚ 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‚” Steenhuisen said.
The concern of under-resourcing was exactly the reason why the DA had argued so strongly for the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate state capture‚ he added.
“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.
“The DA will thus be writing to Mr Frolick to request that a suitably qualified evidence leader be appointed to assist the Public Enterprise committee as a matter of urgency‚ and that the committee be provided with additional outside expertise from the fields of engineering and procurement.
“We will not allow these committee enquiries to become a farce to assist an ANC driven agenda or to be strangled by a lack of resources‚” Steenhuisen said.