Johannesburg – Testimony at the state capture inquiry is laying bare Parliament’s failure to exercise proper oversight over the executive arm of government at a time when it was most needed.
This week, the inquiry has heard the former Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairperson, Themba Godi, describe African National Congress (ANC) MPs as “useful idiots” who believed their political careers would be cut short if they didn’t toe the line.
Former ANC MP Zukiswa Rantho – the woman who chaired Parliament’s inquiry into Eskom – on Tuesday told how she and her family were intimidated and threatened when the probe went ahead in the teeth of opposition from ANC MPs who feared party members would be implicated.
Veteran Democratic Alliance (DA) MP James Selfe also described how he called in vain “over many years” for an inquiry into dodgy Bosasa contracts with the Department of Correctional Services.
Failure by Parliament to hold the executive to account arguably led to millions, if not billions, of public funds being siphoned out of the system.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo noted as much in this exchange with Rantho, who chaired Parliament’s 2017 inquiry into Eskom.
“At the end of the day, the committee itself took a decision on its own to do the probing.”
Zondo noted this was about a year after the DA called for a probe.
“I’m concerned about how much of taxpayers’ money that I’ve been told has been allegedly looted by the Guptas and their associates would have been saved had your committee and the National Assembly acted a year earlier than your committee did.”
Rantho conceded a failure to act speedily on the allegations.