DA wants Nyanda to appear before Parliament

2010-07-27 12:36

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda to appear before Parliament’s communications portfolio committee to explain his reasons for dismissing his director-general Mamodupi Mohlala.

DA Chief Whip Ian Davidson said: “It is deeply concerning that the minister seems to have taken this action on his own accord amid allegations that he is trying to centralise the control of departmental tenders in his own authority, apparently without due consultation in Cabinet or with the president.”

If that was indeed the case, then Nyanda should at the very least explain to Parliament the rationale behind this drastic action.

He should also explain how the department was going to maintain the separation of duties and powers between its political and civil service heads.

Davidson said: “At the end of a sequence of contradictory statements, the minister euphemistically said there had been a ’breakdown in relations’ between the DG and himself.

“This is a remarkable about-face from the representations the minister made to the public on the 15th of July when reports first began circulating that the DG’s dismissal was imminent.”

Nyanda’s spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso, said then that reports of the dismissal were “false, spurious and malicious” and that it was “highly unfortunate that people indulge in malicious rumour mongering”.

“If we are to take these statements at face value, then there has been a seismic shift in relations at the upper echelons of the department in the past fortnight,” Davidson said.

However, if one considered the more likely case that the department’s first aggressive denunciation of reports of the dismissal was nothing more than another incident of the “national government’s policy of vindictive retaliation whenever it is questioned in any way”, these tensions had existed for some time and were potentially linked to the matter of tender awards, a subject the minister could hardly afford to be mired in further.

Either way, the public, whom all these officials were elected to serve, had been left in the dark.

“And it is they that now deserve an explanation. And so the minister needs to appear before the portfolio committee,” Davidson said. 

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