Former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba this afternoon told members of the portfolio committee on public enterprises that he played no material part in state capture at state-owned entities (SOEs) and that he had never received instructions from former president Jacob Zuma on the matter.
He said where he took decisions on appointments to SOEs, it was in line with the shareholder compact.
“Cabinet has established a principle that CEOs of SOEs must be approved by Cabinet, not just for nothing. Acting appointments are within the exclusive purview of the board. The position is different for permanent appointments,” Gigaba stated.
“The minister does not have a role in procurement except when certain large tenders require PFMA approvals. When this happens, materiality thresholds are determined at SOE level as required by section 54 of PFMA. If the tender value falls below the value, the minister is not notified.
“If it exceeds the threshold, the SOE must apply to the minister, but the minister is kept at an arm’s length throughout. The minister is not appraised of the bidders, there is no scope for interference. I, at no stage, established a procurement committee,” Gigaba told MPs.
Gigaba also vehemently denied the reason Cabinet rejected his recommendation of Iqbal Sharma as chairperson of Transnet in June 2011 was because of his links to the Guptas, telling MPs that the sole reason Cabinet took issue with this appointment was because he had recently served as a civil servant at Trade and Industry South Africa (Tisa).
“There was no possible Gupta association. I reject the notion that Cabinet did not appoint him because he was a Gupta ally.
“Eskom’s Trillian matter occurred when I was no longer a minister there. On the Tegeta matter, I ordered a forensic investigation as finance minister. At Denel, the proposed Denel-Asia VSR Laser was not on during my tenure at DPE. At finance [Treasury], I did not approve the Section 54, and I had a meeting with them in Durban and told them to withdraw from the matter and the court order,” Gigaba continued.
Responding to Natasha Mazzone’s assertion that he was Zuma’s golden boy and was deployed to strategic portfolios to advance state capture, Gigaba said if that was the case, then he was misplaced.
“I don’t think I was the favoured member of Cabinet. Whenever reshuffles happen, it does not make ministers less favourable. In addition to that, I was not the first and second option, that is on public record. It is not as if from the outset in 2015 when the first reshuffle took place I was the first person to be sent there [Treasury].
“If I was appointed to do certain things at public enterprises and I did well, why move me? Within a year after being at home affairs, they [board appointments] were changed altogether. Why change them altogether if they were appointed to do certain things. Facts and conjecture in this matter do not go hand in hand,” Gigaba argued.
Gigaba also reminded the MPs that he had gone on record being against the presence of Dudu Myeni at SOEs.
“You will remember when I was a minister of DPE in 2014, I made public strong remarks about the former chairperson of the SAA [Dudu Myeni] and expressed strong displeasure about her performance. When I became finance minister, I made sure we appointed a new board.
“There are a number of suggestions people bring to you, and they will say the president said I must talk to you. I will say since he appointed me, he will call me, and I will say call him, and let us hear what he has to say. I never accepted people name-dropping my principals,” Gigaba submitted.
Gigaba rejected suggestions that his appointment to various departments was engineered by the Guptas and that they influenced his decisions at public enterprises, home affairs as well as during his short stint as finance minister
“During my tenure [DPE], Ms Molefe was appointed, Mr Tsotsi was not summoned or threatened by anybody. Mr Marokane was under no suspension. I think what happens thereafter could be an indication of the gaps that opened when I was no longer a minister.
“They were some media reports, and I say this with full conscience, that my own redeployment to home affairs in 2014 was announced to some people by Ms Dudu Myeni before it happened,” said Gigaba.