Parly committee ‘needs funding’ to probe Zwane in state capture inquiry

Parliament’s legal advisor Fatima Ebrahim has told the committee she will need to interview potential witnesses before an inquiry can start but there's no budget to do so.

FILE: Former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's mineral resources committee is denying that it's trying to avoid carrying out an inquiry into state capture involving former minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

But it says it has not been allocated a budget by Parliament to hold an inquiry.

After a brief appearance by Zwane before the committee last year to answer questions on state capture, it's failed to make any significant progress in taking the matter forward.

It's one of two portfolio committees which met on Thursday to discuss why they have still not managed to get the process off the ground.

Parliament’s legal advisor Fatima Ebrahim has told the committee she will need to interview potential witnesses before an inquiry can start but there's no budget to do so.

The DA’s James Lorimer says he smells a rat.

“I find it difficult to believe that such an oversight could have happened. So in my view what we are seeing here is an attempt to use procedure to shut down this inquiry. Which I don’t find acceptable at all.”

While ANC MPs say Lorimer's claims are untrue, the party’s Motswaledi Matlala suggested a judicial commission of inquiry might be better placed to probe matters during Zwane’s tenure as Agriculture MEC in the Free State.

The committee has now resolved to write to Parliament’s house chairperson Cedric Frolick to ask about funding for an inquiry.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)