Eskom probe chair fears for her family

The interim chairwoman of parliament's inquiry into governance failures at Eskom, Zukiswa Rantho. / Lindile Mbontsi / Gallo Images
The interim chairwoman of parliament's inquiry into governance failures at Eskom, Zukiswa Rantho. / Lindile Mbontsi / Gallo Images

The interim chairwoman of parliament's inquiry into governance failures at Eskom, Zukiswa Rantho, wants to step down from the probe following acts of intimidation directed at her family.

Rantho told Sowetan yesterday that she was "not sure" about continuing to lead the probe following two suspicious incidents targeted at her family.

At the weekend, it was reported that last Thursday Rantho's son was approached by a man in Aliwal North, Eastern Cape, who told him: "Your mother is making life difficult for us."

The incident came after her husband was also apparently followed and cornered by a suspicious vehicle on the N6 between Bloemfontein and East London around June/July, she said.

"I'm now not sure I want to continue because of these incidents," Rantho said.

"It's something I think about everyday that I want to give up and hand this over to the chairperson of the committee."

Rantho said her husband was followed at night by a vehicle which overtook him and tried to stop him.

"He overtook it but it kept following him until it cornered him; he then stopped and asked them what they wanted," she said.

Rantho said the occupants told her husband that they had been "following a wrong car" before driving off.

"My husband then warned me, saying: 'you're treading on dangerous ground'," she said.

The parliamentary probe has already brought to light damning evidence which has, among others, directly linked President Jacob Zuma and former SA Airways chairwoman Dudu Myeni to state capture at the power utility.

Rantho's comments came as parliament was yesterday due to conduct a threat analysis following two other separate incidents on another member of the inquiry, DA's Natasha Mazzone, whose car was tampered with, office ransacked and was recently followed twice by an unknown vehicle.

"I don't expect parliament to do much, they never do anything anyway," Mazzone said.

There are also allegations against State Security Minister Bongani Bongo, who apparently offered a bribe to the inquiry's evidence leader, Ntuthuzelo Vanara, to collapse the probe.

Meanwhile, Zuma met with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, who briefed him on the allegations against Bongo, Presidency announced yesterday. "President Zuma is attending to the matter," Zuma's spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said.

ANC parliamentary spokeswoman Nonceba Mhlauli said: "The ANC in parliament takes serious exception to allegations of attempts to collapse this inquiry and derail the work of parliament."

Rantho said "even our own ANC comrades" thought she was the driver of the inquiry.

"If our own comrades think like that, how about an ordinary person out there?"

Rantho said being the chair of the inquiry had brought unnecessary spotlight on her.

Parliament's spokesman Moloto Mothapo said: "Parliament condemns acts of intimidation which seek to prevent members from doing their jobs."

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