PARLIAMENT, March 7 – Former South African Airways chairwoman Dudu Myeni has pleaded illness to the parliamentary inquiry into Eskom, saying she would not be coming to Cape Town to testify because her health did not allow flying.
Zukiswa Rantho, the chairwoman of the inquiry, told MPs Myeni did not reply to a request for a doctor’s note explaining her condition.
After MPs strongly objected, they resolved that Myeni would be given another week’s grace but would be told that she had no choice but to present herself for questioning and in the meanwhile needed to provide a sick certificate.
Democratic Alliance MP Natascha Mazzone said Myeni was playing games.
“I think it is quite clear that this is a cat and mouse game. I don’t buy this, I think we are being taken for fools.”
Mazzone and other MPs rejected a suggestion from the chair that the committee travel to Johannesburg to interview Myeni. They said it would be a waste of taxpayer’s money.
The committee heard a claim from former Eskom chairman Zola Tsotsi last year that Myeni, at a meeting at former president Jacob Zuma’s home, instructed him to suspend executives at the company. Myeni has in a written submission to the committee accused him of lying.
The committee decided to heed a request from Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, made last week, to be given an extension of ten days to appear before the committee.
Gigaba has asked for time to compile information to be able to answer questions properly. He is expected to be grilled on corporate governance failures at parastatals during his tenure as public enterprises minister, the appointment of board members and the extension of Eskom contracts to companies that form part of the Gupta family’s business empire.
The Gupta brothers have been told to appear before the inquiry next Tuesday.
However, African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart said he believed this was highly unlikely given the fact that they appeared to be dodging the police as the clampdown on their business network continued.
“They are all over the country and the Hawks are trying to find them,” he said.
The committee has heard extensive testimony that they used their political connections to enter into dubious contracts with state enterprises and raked in billions in the process.
– African News Agency (ANA)