Row over new Scopa chair

2014-06-04 00:00

ANC MPL Maggie Govender was elected chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature yesterday, prompting opposition parties to complain that the ANC would now be both “player and referee”.

This position is viewed by opposition parties as crucial to ensuring effective service delivery. The position is traditionally given to a member of the opposition, but the ANC in KZN has held on to it in recent parliamentary terms.

DA leader Sizwe Mchunu said they would be able to better protect the public purse if the Scopa chairperson came from an opposition party.

Mchunu nevertheless welcomed the appointment of Sipho “KK” Nkosi as chairperson of the Finance Portfolio Committee.

He was however critical of the newly-created whippery positions in different portfolio committees by the ANC, saying it amounted to the duplication of roles.

The IFP leader in the legislature, Blessed Gwala, also lamented the ANC’s refusal to give the opposition party the Scopa chairpersonship.

“We believe that Nkosi is capable of running the Finance Portfolio Committee, but our problem is with the Scopa position,” he said.

Gwala said the public purse was not safe in the ANC’s hands because it was both a “player and referee”.

ANC spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said the opposition was playing “cheap politics”.

“They just want to create an impression that they will be more effective if they had a chairperson of Scopa as though the ANC was not capable of doing that,” he said.

Mkhize added the opposition did not have a suitable candidate for the role, who needed experience of the functions of each portfolio committee.

He said the establishment of the whips was intended to enhance functions of the ANC study groups in “extension portfolio committees”.

This was in line with resolutions taken at the ANC’s Mangaung Conference and ­lekgotlas that followed.

He said they wanted to also call for the full use of parliamentary constituency offices by the public, to strengthen the relationship between the government and citizens.

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