OUTA: Block state capture, not its opponents
The ANC’s removal of outspoken ANC MP Makhosi Khoza as chair of the Parliamentary Committee is ominous,” says Ben Theron, OUTA’s Chief Operating Officer.
The ANC has portrayed Khoza’s removal as due to an “irretrievable breakdown in relations” between her and other committee supporters because of her comments about the ANC leadership. She has spoken out against President Jacob Zuma’s leadership and openly called on him to resign.
“This is a blatant attempt to shut Khoza up because she speaks out against wrongdoing,” says Theron.
“The ANC ignored threats to her and instead prioritised taking action designed to pull her into line. The party has failed to make the slightest effort to address the real problem of state capture itself and the associated staggering loss of state funds.”
Khoza’s removal comes a day after Parliament’s chief legal advisor told the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises that the committee should not hire an external evidence leader for its upcoming inquiry into Eskom, partly because such a person would not have the same legal protection as MPs have in Parliament but also because Parliament can’t afford it. The committee has decided to ask for more resources for its inquiry.
“This inquiry is crucial as it includes looking into the state capture of Eskom,” says Theron.
“This is a way of sabotaging the inquiry. We call on Parliament to provide the resources and expertise that the committee needs.”
OUTA, the South African Council of Churches and the Public Affairs Research Institute gave evidence on state capture to the committee on 25 July.
“It’s sinister to see both Parliament and the ANC moving against those who are taking action against state capture,” says Theron.
“Where are the investigations into the Guptas, the ministers and government officials who took holidays and attended weddings at the Guptas’ expense, and the contracts which didn’t go through procurement channels and siphoned off billions of state resources?” says Theron.