NEWS
30/01/2018 07:22 SAST | Updated 30/01/2018 07:22 SAST

SACP: Hear Both Sides Of Ben Martins' State Capture Allegations

The SACP says anyone found guilty in the state capture inquiry will be dealt with, but all sides must be heard.

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Deputy minister of public works Ben Martins.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) will take action against one of its senior leaders and deputy minister of public enterprises, Ben Martins, should "incontrovertible evidence" emerge of his alleged involvement in the state capture project. But, until then, "both sides" of the issue need to be heard, Business Day reported.

Martins is due to testify before Parliament's public enterprises portfolio committee this week.

In November, Eskom's suspended head of legal, Suzanne Daniels, told the committee that Martins was present at a meeting when Ajay Gupta and Duduzane Zuma discussed how to delay a court case involving former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe. Martins denied the stories.

On Monday, SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo told Business Day that the SACP had called for the state capture inquiry and that anyone against whom allegations were made must cooperate. But a one-sided process could not be credible, he said.

"Our decision is categorical. Should any incontrovertible evidence emerge the SACP will take decisive action. The universal rule of justice, audi alteram partem, which means hear the other side of the story in a credible process rather than just one side of the story without a credible process, and the twin rule of incontrovertible evidence are very crucial when allegations are levelled against you or someone else. In other words, you do not become guilty the moment allegations are levelled against you or someone else.

"You become guilty the moment incontrovertible evidence comes forward in a credible process. This is why the SACP called for the inquiry.

"It will be unjust to call for the inquiry and then bypass it by reaching premature conclusions outside of it. The SACP will take a lead and certainly act decisively should incontrovertible evidence emerge from the process," said Mashilo.

Meanwhile, eNCA reported that former Prasa CEO, Lucky Montana, will appear before the parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom on Tuesday. Martins reportedly admitted to inviting Montana and a Gupta brother to his home. He reportedly said this was because Montana was concerned that the Guptas were trying to replace him and former Prasa board chairperson, Sifiso Buthelezi.

But Montana apparently disputed this, and alleged that Martins invited him to meet the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), Martins was subpoenaed by the committee after initially refusing to appear. He reportedly said that his written submission to the committee should suffice.

MPs were reportedly scathing of Martin's refusal to appear. IFP MP Narend Singh reportedly said his reaction reminded him of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, "... or rather the quote, 'a lady doth protest too much'".

The EFF's Marshall Dlamini reportedly said Martins had behaved "like a drama queen" when he called a press conference to deny Daniels' claims.

"So, we must subpoena that drama queen," he said.