There was commotion in Parliament yesterday when members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy bickered among themselves on whether Hwange Colliery Company Limited shareholder Mr Nicholas Van Hoogstraten should give evidence.
Tempers flared during the altercation which eventually saw Clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda being called in to give guidance.
Some legislators, mostly from Zanu-PF led by Mberengwa North MP Cde Tafanana Zhou argued that it was not prudent for Mr Van Hoogstraten to give evidence on Hwange when its case was before the High Court after Government appointed an administrator in terms of the Reconstruction of State Indebted Companies and Insolvency Act.
Committee chairperson Mr Temba Mliswa and some MPs mostly from MDC Alliance insisted that hearing evidence should proceed since they had already heard evidence from other stakeholders last month.
Chaos then ensued with legislators trading accusations and counter-accusations in full view of journalists and Mr Van Hoogstraten.
At one stage, Mr Van Hoogstraten angered Zanu-PF legislators when he described their conduct as disruptive and said those who did not want to hear his evidence could be excused.
It took about 30 minutes of verbal exchanges until Mr Chokuda came in and indicated that Parliament could not deliberate on a case which was before the courts as it was subjudice.
Hwange Colliery Company Private Limited was placed under the control of an administrator by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi who has since approached the High Court applying to have the order confirmed.
It was then resolved that hearing into Hwange be adjourned until the High Court had made a determination.
Addressing legislators and journalists soon after deliberations, Mr Mliswa said he was now considering resigning as chairperson of the committee since he could have “misfired” by insisting that the case be heard.
“I have admitted in front of my colleagues and I apologised as chairman that I did not make a right decision. As a leader you must also take full responsibility of decisions, I think I miscalculated and as a result I take full responsibility. I think I will consult further to see if I am still capable of chairing this committee. In a couple of days I should make a statement whether I am fit to chair the committee. I think any leader must make such decisions, the committee is more important at the end of the day,” said Mr Mliswa.
“I have never wanted to take my troops to a battle where they will be killed. Certainly it is not proper to make such miscalculation as a chairperson. I think I misfired and when you misfire you must be honest with yourself.”
In an interview, Mr Van Hoogstraten said he will oppose the decision to have Hwange placed under reconstruction.
He admitted that Hwange had been weighed down by mismanagement and corruption, which was the basis upon which Government had to intervene.