A retired police officer, Brigadier Jap Burger, is set to appear before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) as part of an ongoing investigation into corruption at Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned electricity provider. The decision to summon Brigadier Burger was reached unanimously by the committee members.
This move comes after Brigadier Burger had twice refused to testify before Scopa. His involvement in the investigation stems from his connection with former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter, who had reported the findings of a covert intelligence-gathering operation within the power utility.
Scopa initiated the investigation in April in response to allegations of corruption made by Andre de Ruyter during a television interview in February. These allegations led to De Ruyter’s early resignation from his position.
Despite Brigadier Jap Burger’s retirement from the police service, Parliament asserted that this should not exempt him from providing testimony. Consequently, all parties present at the recent meeting decided to seek Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s authorization to issue a subpoena, given Brigadier Burger’s refusal to cooperate in explaining his absence from Scopa’s hearings.
The Democratic Alliance (DA)’s Benedicta van Minnen remarked, “He hasn’t worked with Scopa in explaining why he refuses to appear. He has chosen instead to go via the Speaker’s office.”
Bheki Hadebe of the African National Congress (ANC) expressed concurrence with the committee’s decision to use a subpoena: “In line with the Constitution and the powers vested in the committee, I fully concur and agree with the committee to invoke the subpoena in order for Brigadier Burger to appear before the committee.”
Scopa has set the date for Brigadier Burger’s appearance as November 15 and plans to notify him before the subpoena is officially issued.