ANC, DA chief whips at odds

2012-09-05 21:54
Mathole Motshekga (GCIS)

Mathole Motshekga (GCIS)

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Cape Town - Parliament's chief whip Mathole Motshekga's office has asked his Democratic Alliance counterpart Watty Watson to apologise "for spreading malicious lies" about him.

"We are disappointed with the lowest levels Watson seems to be prepared to stoop just for the sake of scoring [a] few mentions in the media.

"We reject with the contempt it deserves the malicious rumours and lies regarding the ANC Chief Whip's management of the multiparty Chief Whips' Forum (CWF), which he chairs," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Watson said a meeting on Wednesday of the CWF - the body that effectively runs Parliament - had again been cancelled at the last minute by Motshekga.

The forum was supposed to meet each week during parliamentary terms to allow party whips to reach agreement on the parliamentary agenda and other matters.

"But Motshekga - who is paid R1.2m per annum from the public purse - is hardly ever there."

Watson claimed Motshekga had missed 11 of 18 meetings (61%) convened in his name, leaving former deputy chief whip Gratitude Magwanishe to run the meetings.

Since Magwanishe had been promoted to deputy minister for public enterprises on 12 June, Motshekga had cancelled the forum four out of nine times and had been present only three out of the five times it had met.

Watson said he wrote to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu in June to express "my concern at the malfunctioning of this critical body of Parliament".

"The Speaker wrote to Motshekga to remind him of his duties to Parliament, but there has been no improvement.

"The conduct and performance of Mr Motshekga is an absolute disgrace and should not be tolerated," Watson said.

However, Motshekga's office said in its statement that if Watson's "theory was to be believed", that Motshekga had attended only seven of the forum meetings he himself convened since the beginning of 2012, it meant Motshekga was "present in Parliament for just under two months out of the entire nine months this year".

Actual statistics provided by Parliament showed there had been 15 ordinary CWF meetings this year.

There had also been three special meetings (called by Motshekga to specifically discuss the joint rules committee report, the state of the nation address preparations, and recently the Marikana tragedy).

Only three meetings had been postponed - those on 6 June, 29 August, and 5 September.

The reasons were the unavailability of party chief whips and a lack of a quorum.

Motshekga's office said it was improbable that he would be available for every engagement in Parliament, hence the existence of the position of the deputy chief whip.

"Watson's assertion that it is wrong for the chief whip to delegate his deputy is plain silliness."

The office also denied Sisulu ever had a meeting with Motshekga regarding his management of the forum.

"Watson's lies border on character assassination and we therefore urge him to apologise."

- SAPA

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  watty watson  |  mathole motshekga  |  max sisulu  |  politics
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