ANC supports accountability
Cape Town - The ANC is "uncompromising" in its support of the executive having to account to Parliament, the office of the party's Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said on Friday.
"We wish to state categorically that the Chief Whip has always maintained and affirmed the ANC's uncompromising support of the principle of the executive accounting to all parliamentary committees, including Scopa (the Standing Committee on Public Accounts)," the office said in a statement.
The Sunday Times reported on March 14 that it had been told by several ANC members that Motshekga had been obliged by his party colleagues to write to the Speaker of Parliament, Max Sisulu, to withdraw his recent statement to reporters that ministers should not have to appear before Scopa because "they have a country to run".
The newspaper reported that Motshekga was previously forced to clarify his statements to an ANC study group at which he told MPs he believed Scopa wanted to "parade and embarrass" ministers.
The article quoted the ANC's whip for Scopa, Mandla Mbili, saying that Motshekga made the statement "as an individual, with no mandate from the ruling party".
"This caused problems because we then had to clarify this in a strategy meeting, where the decision was taken that he should withdraw that statement," Mbili was reported to have said.
"We then had to go to caucus to clarify this issue, because it had the potential to cause serious damage."
But on Friday, Motshekga's office said it had accepted Mbili's explanation that his comments in the article were fabricated and misrepresented.
Loyal cadre of ANC
"What I expressed during the interview was my views on the issue of whether or not Cabinet ministers should appear before Scopa," Mbili said in a letter to The Sunday Times.
"How the reporter interpreted this as an intention on my part to mount an attack on Motshekga, is beyond my understanding.
"I would like to put it on record that should I have any problems regarding the conduct of any ANC leader, the only avenue where I would express my feeling is within ruling party structures, not the media."
Motshekga's office said Mbili was "a disciplined and loyal cadre of the movement" and its caucus disciplinary committee had "unanimously accepted Mbili's version of the story".
"We have always maintained that holding the executive to account is at the core of our activist Parliament and thus has to be executed appropriately to ensure that concrete results are attained for the benefit of all our people," the statement from Motshekga's office said.
"The role of Scopa in ensuring that departments accomplish their service delivery targets is paramount and therefore we should be thorough in reinforcing its role."