Ministers' benches still too empty in Parliament, despite Ramaphosa promise - DA

2016-12-05 14:31
John Steenhuisen (Netwerk24)

John Steenhuisen (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - There were still several empty spaces on the ministers' benches in Parliament, despite a promise by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to improve attendance, the Democratic Alliance said on Monday.

Presenting the review of the parliamentary year, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen raised concerns about the "poor quality" of responses received from various ministers.

"It appears that ministers don’t take Mr Ramaphosa very seriously, because if he was cracking the whip and they are ignoring it, then it speaks more to Mr Ramaphosa’s hold of his party than anything else," Steenhuisen said.

He was referring to Ramaphosa’s promise to the National Assembly during a question-and-answer session in September. He told MPs to have faith that ministers would get better at accounting to Parliament.

"Watch this space," Ramaphosa said at the time.

READ: Ramaphosa promises improved attendance by ministers at Parliament

Steenhuisen said that not much had improved since that day. If the current trend continued, those ministers who did come and had prepared, would start to ask why they should bother.

The DA said they had been at the forefront of driving issues affecting South Africans in Parliament in 2016.

They had called for debates on urgent matters, including state capture, violence at universities, and the impact of the drought.

The DA had asked 81% of all written and oral questions in 2016, Steenhuisen said.

It was a good year for opposition parties, the DA said, and a bad one for the government.

"It has been a great year for the opposition. We have been able to consolidate, and hold the ANC accountable. It’s been a bad year for government. They have been consistently shown up in Parliament. And it shows what an important platform Parliament is to hold the [government] accountable," he said.

In short, the year in Parliament was "lit", Steenhuisen joked.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  politics

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