The chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, Yunus Carrim, confirmed on Thursday that there was no change in the decision to have hearings on the Steinhoff scandal at the end of this month.
This comes after Democratic Alliance (DA) MP David Maynier said earlier in the day that he had not received a formal reply to his request for public hearings on Steinhoff, although a public statement was issued following his request.
Last month, Maynier wrote to Carrim requesting him to consider scheduling public hearings on the scandal surrounding "accounting irregularities" at the South African retail giant Steinhoff International Holdings NV.
The hearings will be held jointly with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) and the Public Service and Administration Portfolio Committee on 30 or 31 January, depending on outstanding administrative issues.
But Carrim said it was absolutely not true that the hearings were being held at Maynier's request as he claimed, adding that Maynier's political posturing was only exacerbating the situation.
Carrim said that all that Maynier had to do was phone or SMS him to check on progress, and not seek to claim that it was only the DA component in the Committee that cared about an issue of such national importance.
"Actually, I acted immediately after the issue broke out and decided that the Committee would have to have hearings on this matter well before Maynier wrote to me and rushed to the media. I also received a call from Floyd Shivambu regarding the matter – and [Themba] Godi had already issued a statement," Carrim said.
"I wrote to the Financial Services Board (FSB), South African Reserve Bank, Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), Independent Board for Auditors and JSE informing them about the pending hearings and requesting them to provide us with the scope or terms of reference of the FSB investigation into Steinhoff and the possible timelines for the completion of the investigation."
Steinhoff was engulfed by an accounting scandal last month which led to the resignation of chief executive Markus Jooste, triggering a heavy sell-off that slashed more than 80% off the value of its shares in December.
South African labour unions said billions of rands worth of workers’ pensions were lost through the GEPF and PIC investments in Steinhoff.