Cape Town – Brian Molefe, who was sworn in as a Member of Parliament recently, will not serve as a member of the standing committee on finance as was initially speculated.
The former Eskom CEO told BusinessLive on Wednesday he has been assigned as a member of the ANC to two portfolio committees of the National Assembly – that of international relations and economic development.
Molefe’s appointment to the two committees will however only be official once it has been tabled in Parliament’s Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports which are distributed daily. It was not in the reports tabled on Wednesday.
Michael Cardo, DA MP who represents his party in the portfolio committee on economic development told Fin24 on Wednesday that Molefe's deployment to this committee, if true, is definitely a cause for concern.
He said the interesting question would then be whether President Jacob Zuma intends to axe Ebrahim Patel and installing Molefe as the Minister of Economic Development instead.
"In his State of the Nation Address, President Zuma made it clear that the competition authorities, which report to the Department of Economic Development, were going to be used to drive his populist agenda of 'radical economic transformation’.
"A few days later, the Competition Commission announced its collusion case against 17 banks," he said, questioning Molefe's role in the ongoing feud against the banks.
Rumour had it that Molefe was heading for the finance committee, replacing Makhosi Khoza who was promoted to chairperson of the portfolio committee on public service and administration.
Democratic Alliance spokesperson on finance David Maynier said at the time that such a move could pave the way for Molefe’s eventual appointment as either finance or deputy finance minister, replacing Pravin Gordhan or Mcebisi Jonas.
The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa however pointed out that it is not necessary for Molefe to serve in the finance committee first, as he could be appointed straight to Cabinet.
“It would be a good introduction and a conduit to the finance ministry – as finance minister or deputy finance minister, [but] it’s not a prerequisite that he first serves in the committee," Hlengwa added.
The portfolio committee on economic development is chaired by Elsie Coleman, while Moses Masangu heads the international relations committee.
On Wednesday Maynier said "no matter what committee he serves on, Brian Molefe is completely compromised by the State of Capture report, which found inter alia that he has between 2 August 2015 and 22 March 2016 called Ajay Gupta a total of 44 times".