The speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete has authorised the standing committee on finance to summon former Steinhoff International CEO Markus Jooste and former chief financial officer Ben Le Grange to give evidence on August 29 on an accounting scandal that rocked the company late last year.
Steinhoff is still grappling with the fallout after it admitted to accounting irregularities last December, leading to a heavy sell-off of its shares while Jooste was forced to step down.
“Following a legal opinion obtained by the office of the Speaker on the matter, speaker Mbete gave a thumbs up for the inquiry … into the nature, causes and consequences of the sudden collapse of Steinhoff’s share value that resulted in investors and pension funds losing billions of rands, and thousands of jobs being threatened internationally and in South Africa,” parliament said.
It said Jooste and Le Grange’s hearing would focus on institutional flaws and challenges existing in South Africa’s financial regulatory framework or any implementation challenges which might have caused or given rise to the Steinhoff debacle.
“Therefore, the inquiry is not a criminal investigation establishing criminal liability, nor is it a civil inquiry establishing civil liability of Steinhoff or its employees,” parliament added.
On Tuesday, the main opposition Democratic Alliance said it welcomed the subpoena.
Parliament says the former Steinhoff executives must answer questions given the enormous gravity of the Steinhoff crisis, in which billions of rands was lost with huge consequences for a wide range of people and institutions locally and globally.