It has now been confirmed that neither the Guptas nor Dudu Myeni will appear, as requested, before the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises’ Inquiry into State Capture tomorrow as previously arranged. The Guptas have apparently flown the coop and are not in South Africa. Myeni claims she is still sick, we have yet to see the original doctor’s note.
This is a flagrant abuse of the committee’s politeness and an unacceptable disregard for Parliament and the Constitution under which this inquiry has been established and cannot be allowed to continue.
Tomorrow, the DA will request that the Guptas and Myeni are formally summoned to appear. Should they then ignore the summons and fail to account to Parliament, Section 17(1) of the Powers, Privileges, and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2004 states that “witnesses who fail to adhere to a summons commits an offence and is liable to a fine or to imprisonment of up to 12 months”.
Portfolio Committees are empowered by the Constitution to call any person they see fit. The fact that the Guptas and Myeni have failed to show up, while not surprising, displays their utter contempt for the Parliament of South Africa.
Last week, the Minister of Home Affairs also declined to appear on the date requested as he claimed he needed more time to prepare. He is now set to appear tomorrow but given his track record of ducking and diving, we will believe it when we see it.
State Capture has hollowed out key public institutions and robbed South Africa of billions of the people’s money. Those who may have been involved or who may have vital information must account to Parliament. Those who attempted what is now known to be one of the greatest heists of all time must know this: there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. No one is above the law.
The DA will not rest until the Guptas, Duduzane Zuma, Myeni and Salim Essa, at the very least, have appeared before the Committee and are ultimately held accountable for their role in state capture.