21/11/2017 11:12 SAST | Updated 21/11/2017 11:13 SAST

State Capture: MPs Condemn 'Intimidation' of Evidence Leader

They have "no reason to doubt" Ntuthuzelo Vanara following reports that State Security Minister Bongani Bongo tried to pay him off to resign.

Jan Gerber, News24
State Security Minister Bongani Bongo, who allegedly tried to pay off state capture inquiry evidence leader Ntuthuzelo Vanara to resign.

MPs serving on the parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom have strongly condemned what they say are "attempts to intimidate" its evidence leader, advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara.

This follows a Timeslive report that State Security Minister Bongani Bongo allegedly tried to "bribe" Vanara to resign as evidence leader.

The publication reports that Vanara submitted an affidavit to Parliament in which he accuses Bongo of offering him an "open cheque" to resign, apparently in an attempts to halt or thwart the inquiry.

Also read this: State Capture: Brown, Martins, Koko and Molefe Could Testify This Week

It is understood Vanara's affidavit is to be tabled at a sitting of Parliament's joint ethics committee on Tuesday.

The African Christian Democratic Party's Steve Swart said if the allegations were correct, it was yet "another attempt to intimidate our evidence leader".

This was "totally unacceptable", as it is an attempt to intimidate the committee itself.

DA MP Natasha Mazzone called on Acting Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee Chairwoman Lungi Mnganga-Gcabashe to write to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, requesting that investigation of the allegations "take top priority".

Other MPs expressed their strong support for Vanara, saying they have "no reason to doubt" him.

Political pressure is mounting on Vanara to resign.

The office of the state law adviser has pointed out the conflict of interest, saying it is problematic to be evidence leader in a parliamentary inquiry while at the same time being a full-time employee of Parliament. It has threatened to report him to the General Council of the Bar of South Africa.

Last week, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and her deputy, Ben Martins, also lashed out at Vanara.

Martins accused Vanara of acting unfairly in his handling of the inquiry, while Brown labelled it a "kangaroo court", saying Vanara had allowed testimony that implicated people without warning.

Both the minister and her deputy have been implicated in alleged state capture.

The inquiry is being conducted by Parliament's public enterprises portfolio committee.