Tru­ancy by min­is­ters angers MPs

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

PAR­LIA­MEN­TAR­I­ANS are fast los­ing pa­tience with “su­pe­rior” min­is­ters and their deputies who seem­ingly refuse to ac­count to the na­tional leg­is­la­ture and its com­mit­tees.

This week, leg­is­la­tors called for tough ac­tion to be meted out against the errant ex­ec­u­tives.

One MP even sug­gested that tru­ant min­is­ters be dragged to Par­lia­ment even if they were kick­ing and scream­ing.

There have been com­plaints of min­is­ters not at­tend­ing par­lia­men­tary ses­sions to an­swer ques­tions and re­spond to mem­bers’ mo­tions, as well as meetings.

Lead­ing the cul­prits is In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion Min­is­ter Maite Nkoane-Masha­bane, who again snubbed a par­lia­men­tary ses­sion de­spite leader of gov­ern­ment busi­ness Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and the chief whips fo­rum call­ing on her to at­tend. In­stead she went to Viet­nam. Nkoana-Masha­bane has yet to ap­pear be­fore the port­fo­lio to ex­plain her de­ci­sion to grant diplo­matic im­mu­nity to Zim­babwe’s First Lady Grace Mu­gabe last month.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans are also de­mand­ing an­swers from Pub­lic Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi after she did not at­tend a port­fo­lio com­mit­tee to ac­count to re­ports that she flew fam­ily and friends at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense to at­tend her bud­get vote.

Ramaphosa had to field par­lia­men­tary ques­tions from op­po­si­tion MPs who want ac­tion, prefer­ably her dis­missal from the cab­i­net.

Also this week, the so­cial de­vel­op­ment port­fo­lio com­mit­tee took a dim view on deputy min­is­ter Hen­dri­etta Bo­gopane-Zulu, who has been ab­sent from its meetings.

Deputy Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Thandi Ma­ham­behlala was a toast of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee last week when it de­cided to take up her ab­sence with her.

Re­spond­ing to par­lia­men­tary ques­tions, Ramaphosa said those who missed sched­uled meetings with­out rea­son­able ex­pla­na­tion could be sanc­tioned by the na­tional leg­is­la­ture. “Such pow­ers do not re­side with the leader of gov­ern­ment busi­ness. This is so be­cause it is this House that can also sanc­tion the leader of gov­ern­ment busi­ness.”

The DA’s John Steen­huisen said he was dis­ap­pointed and dis­tressed that Nkoana-Masha­bane had snubbed the par­lia­men­tary ques­tion ses­sion de­spite cor­re­spon­dence from Ramaphosa and chief whips’ fo­rum urg­ing her to at­tend.

“She is not ac­count­able to Viet­nam. She is ac­count­able to this Par­lia­ment,” Steen­huisen said.

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