NEWS & ANALYSIS

Ex-Steinhoff CEO and CFO to be summoned to give evidence – Parliament

After taking legal advice Speaker Baleka Mbete has given the thumbs up for SCOF to proceed with inquiry

Speaker approves a call for ex-Steinhoff CEO Jooste and CFO La Grange to be summonsed to give evidence before the Standing Committee on Finance

21 August 2018

Parliament, Tuesday 21 August 2018 – The Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete, has authorised the Standing Committee on Finance (SCoF) to summon the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Steinhoff, Mr Marius Jooste and the former Chief Financial Officer, Mr Ben la Grange, to give evidence before the relevant committees of Parliament.

Following a legal opinion obtained by the Office of the Speaker on the matter, Speaker Mbete gave a thumbs up for the inquiry of the SCoF into the nature, causes and consequences of the sudden collapse of Steinhoff’s share value that resulted in investors and pension funds losing billions of rands, and thousands of jobs being threatened internationally and in South Africa.

In terms of, inter alia, Section 56 of the Constitution, the National Assembly and its committees are empowered to summon not only state organs to account to Parliament, but any private person, institution or regulatory body to provide evidence on any legitimate matter of public interest which falls within the scope of their oversight mandate . Such a person or company would be compelled to comply with the directives of the committee that seeks information in order to exercise its functions. The mandate of Parliament is to make laws, provide oversight and promote public participation to among others protect the citizens, advance their development and prevent any recurrence of instances like the calamity of the collapse of the Steinhoff’s share value, with wide ranging implications.

The SCoF is planning to summon the former CEO and CFO of Steinhoff to focus on institutional flaws and challenges existing in our financial regulatory framework or any implementation challenges in our financial regulatory framework, which might have caused or given rise to the Steinhoff debacle.

Therefore, the inquiry is not a criminal investigation establishing criminal liability, nor is it a civil inquiry establishing civil liability of Steinhoff or its employees. 

The hearing will take place on 29 August 2018.

Issued by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, 21 August 2018