Finance minister Pravin Gordhan has expressed dissatisfaction over the long periods spent in deliberating over the Gupta State Capture.
The minister, who was addressing members of National Assembly on Wednesday, said debate over the Guptas’ involvement in state matter has lasted longer than expected and at the expense of several other issues left untouched.
He said however, that the Treasury would not back down on its effort to investigate the Guptas or any other person(s) who might be involved in corruption.
“There’s no doubt that as South Africans we need to ask why, both in this chamber and elsewhere, do we spend such an inordinate amount of time discussing one family’s influence in this country,” Minister Gordhan said, pointing out the need to for the parliament to address other pressing matters in the country aside the Gupta State Capture.
“Don’t we have discussions on how we are going to create 20 million jobs and the obligation to ask how we’re going to create more investment in our country, rather than whether you are pro-Gupta or anti-Gupta?” he asked.
Minister Gordhan then noted that the Treasury’s investigations on irregularities and corruption especially on the alleged Gupta State Capture were a non-negotiable mandate provided for by the constitution.
“These constitutional obligations make the National Treasury the target of certain individuals,” said Gordhan.
When asked to respond to Eskom’s Gupta-linked coal contracts, Gordahan challenged Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe by backing chief procurement officer Kenneth Brown, who had labelled Molefe a liar.
Molefe claimed that Eskom had been co-operating with the Treasury’s investigation into the Gupta-owned Tegeta’s coal contracts. This was before Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown intervened last week, instructing Eskom to hand over the Gupta-related documents to the Treasury.
Minister Gordhan maintained that he would not be deterred in its efforts to probe corruption, regardless of who the culprits were or where the attacks directed at him emanated from.
Treasury Not Captured
Speaking further to the members of the parliament, Finance minister Pravin Gordhan rubbished Molefe’s claim that the Treasury was captured for approving pre-payments to Tegeta.
He described Molefe’s claim as funny and baseless when the facts were clear. He said the influence came from only one group.
Gordhan emphasized that the duty of the Treasury was to ensure that decisions taken by the government and state-owned enterprises were in compliance with the law.
He said Molefe was on public record defending the Guptas.