NEWS

Guptas' Lawyer On Eskom Summons: I've Heard Nothing From The Family

Thus far, there is no indication the president's controversial friends have been summoned by Parliament's portfolio committee.

26/07/2017 09:55 SAST | Updated 26/07/2017 11:38 SAST
Elizabeth Sejake/Rapport/Getty Images
Gert van der Merwe.

The Gupta family's lawyer says he has heard nothing from the Gupta family regarding a summons from the public enterprises parliamentary portfolio committee.

The family have been classified as "potential witnesses" in a parliamentary inquiry into Eskom, but thus far, there is no indication that they will appear before the committee if summoned.

The Guptas' lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, said his office has not received any form of summons.

"How it works in an attorney's practice is the client will phone you with an instruction saying 'I have received this summons, you must assist me'. Take in mind they [the Guptas] have several attorneys who do work for them," Van der Merwe said.

Asked if the family would be willing to appear before the parliamentary committee, he said: "If they phone me and give me an instruction, I will be in a position to tell you, but so far I have received no instruction."

Parliamentary committee spokesperson Temba Gubula said the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma's son, Duduzane, have been classified as potential witnesses.

"The other members of the committee then wanted them to be confirmed as witnesses so that process is still going to unfold. There is no set date. We had planned to have the hearings in the first week of August but we then had to move that date to finalise processes. The hearings will start sometime in mid-August," Gubula said.

He said the committee has not served summons on the family to date.

Acting chairperson of the portfolio committee on public enterprises, Daphne Rantho, told MPs on Tuesday that one member of the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma are only "potential witnesses" who will be called if the committee finds it necessary to do so.

There was a backlash from committee members, who had assumed they would definitely be called to testify, given the alleged role of their irregularities at Eskom. They demanded the Guptas be called to testify.

The family has been fingered for various under-the-carpet deals involving senior officials at the parastatal, resulting in the family allegedly acquiring billions of rands. Duduzane Zuma has allegedly also been influential in these deals.