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State capture inquiry: MPs subpoena Ben Martins

Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins has been sharply criticised by parliamentarians for refusing to testify in their inquiry on state capture.

FILE: Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Ben Martins has been sharply criticised by Members of Parliament (MPs) for refusing to testify in their inquiry on state capture.

Lawmakers on Wednesday decided to issue a subpoena to force Martins to answer questions in Parliament.

MPs attempting to get to the bottom of the rot at the state-owned power utility have called whistle-blowers, former Eskom executives and ex-board members to testify since mid-October.

The hearings are expected to resume early in the new year.

In a letter addressed to the committee, Martins made it clear that he doesn’t need to testify because he has sent Parliament a written submission.

But MPs are prepared to force him to appear before the inquiry.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh said: “The reaction of the deputy minister reminds me of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet… or rather the quote ‘a lady doth protest too much’.”

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Marshall Dlamini was scathing in his response.

“He behaved like a drama queen… calling a media briefing. So, we must subpoena that drama queen. He must come to Parliament.”

Eskom’s suspended head of legal Suzanne Daniels testified several weeks ago that she attended a meeting with Martins, Ajay Gupta, Salim Essa and Duduzane Zuma in July.

At that meeting, Daniels claimed Gupta discussed former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s court case.

Martins and Gupta have both denied her version. Gupta was apparently in India while Martins attended a funeral and an African National Congress Lekgotla that day.

WATCH: Inquiry into corporate governance in Eskom

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)