Former Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete says it is not true that the fifth Parliament did nothing to investigate allegations of widespread corruption between 2014 and 2017. She is testifying at the State Capture Commission on the parliamentary oversight during the former President Jacob Zuma’s administration.
Mbete said they did everything in their power through portfolio committees to find out what was happening.
“We did what is contained in this submission, whether it was by way of questions to the President, questions to specific ministers, that’s apart from portfolio committees and that’s apart from the motion of no confidence. So, it is simply untrue to say the fifth Parliament sat through massive amounts of corruption and did totally nothing. It is not true. What did happen might be inadequate and yes I dare say actually, it was inadequate because the resources are not adequate.”
Mbete has decried the current political culture which she says gives unfettered powers to the Executive. She says currently the President is both the Head of State and the Executive. She says Parliament and the Judiciary are not treated equally with the executive making it difficult for the two arms of the state to execute their constitutional obligation.
“The political culture has given the Executive what in my view are unequal powers that militate against the principle of separation of powers in relation to the other arms in as far as procurement of finances from the National Fiscus or work of each arm is concerned. This is not in keeping with the spirit of this original relevant constitutional principle seeks. It is a practice that unwittingly promotes the supremacy of the Executive as opposed to the principle of the separation of powers. ”
Earlier co-owner of travel agency, Travel Excellence, Halima Allana has told the commission that Gupta-associate, Salim Essa, made many travel bookings for important and high-profile clients between 2013 and 2018.
She said she had no reason to lie about the bookings Essa made and initiated through her agency for top executives of State-Owned Enterprises and some Ministers. Allana indicated that one of the high-profile people the agency made bookings for was former Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.
“We got quite a few referrals from Salim Essa and the Gupta’s and from other clients that we then built a client base for travel excellence, for example, I don’t know who Mr. Zwane is but there were some names that I didn’t know were Ministers or high profile people because we were given names and were told book, so I wouldn’t know if I was booking for government or a high profile person but come later then I realise this was a high profile person.”
Below is co-owner of travel agency, Travel Excellence, Halima Allana:
A travel agent with Travel Excellence, Sameera Sooliman who also testified before the commission confirmed that she was introduced to Former Eskom Chief Financial Officer Anoj Singh by Gupta associate Salim Essa. Sooliman says Travel Excellence had an account for Essa who was an exclusive client.
She says although she never met Singh personally, they communicated through WhatsApp or email whenever he needed a trip to be booked. Answering a question from Zondo about Singh’s bookings, Sooliman told him that the former Eskom executive mostly paid in cash and that the payments were delivered to her home.
“When he made cash payments how did he go about doing that?” Zondo asked.
“He used to send me a WhatsApp or call and say that somebody would be dropping off the payment and most of the time it used to be dropped off at my place. I was living in Mayfair at that time, offices were in Lanesia and it was much easier to drop it off by me and I used to ring my office and say I have received so much from Mr. so and so, kindly receipt it out because I never used to have a receipt book at home,” said Sooliman.
Video:Travel Agent Sameera Sooliman’s testimony at the State Capture Inquiry