Finance Minister Gigaba has related his concerns over Gupta involvement in the alleged state capture and its role in influencing decisions at state-owned entities.
The minister was responding to the controversies that arose following the suspension of Eskom’s chief finance officer Anoj Singh.
Singh was placed on precautionary suspension on Thursday following an urgent intervention by Finance Minister Gigaba and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.
This comes after Singh was accused of having a special relationship with the Gupta family. He allegedly signed off on a number of a questionable deal on a pre-payment to Gupta-owned company Tegeta that purchased the optimum coal mine.
Singh had last week asked for more time to explain his luxury five-star trips to Dubai allegedly funded by the Guptas but he wasn’t given the chance to do so, neither has Eskom, its board nor public enterprises been able to confirm the report that Singh has been suspended.
Singh also hasn’t been able to explain why Eskom paid him over half a million rand last year in what’s been called “other payments”.
Speaking on this, Finance Minister Gigaba said he fully supports Eskom’s decision.
“Like all South Africans, I am very worried about them and I think we need to establish fact from the allegation. That is why it is important to fully support a judicial commission of inquiry to establish the truth and be able to provide clarity” he said, adding that he was concerned about the Gupta family’s role in influencing decisions at state-owned entities.
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown had explained that placing Singh on special leave would give room for a transparent investigation but it remains unclear what he is being investigated for.
While Brown called for several short term probes last week, Eskom said it’s still formulating the scope of the investigation.
The utility’s acting CEO Johnny Dladla also called for transactions with consultancy firms McKinsey and Trillian – which is linked to the Gupta’s – to be investigated.
Meanwhile, the Development Bank of South Africa threatened to withdraw its multi-billion rand loan that forced the board to investigate Singh after the bank flagged R3 billion in spending that flouted the Public Finance Management Act.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has also warned that despite Singh being placed on special leave, this doesn’t excuse him from the parliamentary inquiry into the utility.
The party’s Shadow Minister for Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone says there’s a range of corruption scandals and dodgy deals that Singh may have played a role in.
“We have been calling for his suspension and we do welcome it, however, this does not excuse him from appearing before the upcoming parliamentary inquiry into Eskom and we have committed to laying charges against Mr Singh.”
At the same time, civil action group Outa is calling for a credible and genuine investigation into Singh’s activities at Eskom.
Finance Minister Gigaba has expressed concern over the Wealthy Gupta family and its relationship with state own enterprises.