Defence committee head gets the boot

2010-11-18 22:25

Cape Town - The ANC has replaced the chairperson of the portfolio committee on defence and military veterans, Nyamizele Booi, after being left "unimpressed" with the "to-ing and fro-ing" between the committee and the Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Deputy secretary general Thandi Modise told journalists in Parliament on Thursday that the party was not happy with the way the committee had been functioning.

"In this instance the ANC was not impressed with the to-ing and fro-ing between the committee and the minister," Modise said.

"We were not happy with the way the committee was functioning and with the way it lost focus and the main thrust of its mandate."

Booi and Sisulu were at loggerheads in the past months over Sisulu's refusal to submit a report by the interim national defence force commission to Parliament on establishing a permanent national defence force service commission and a special dispensation for the conditions of service of members of the defence force.

The ANC had given its full support to Sisulu and cautioned Booi that his ultimatum to Sisulu to release the report within 30 days bordered on "ill-discipline".

"The ANC reserves the right to replace its leaders," Modise said.

Not unfair

Modise said the defence committee had been silent of "very crucial matters" such as the morale of troops.

She said it was not in the interests of the country to have unnecessary interactions between the committee and the minister.

"We do not wish to have this type of behaviour," she said.

"All ministers of the ANC are expected to account to Parliament and to the public."

The party expected some tensions between the executive and the legislature, but it did not envisage a situation where one institution undermined another.

"I don't think we are being unfair (on Booi). We are happy he took the time and did his best as chair," she said.

Modise said she could not comment on whether Booi was replaced as part of a continuing probe into the alleged misappropriation by ANC MPs of R50m.

"I can not comment on that," she said.

Booi will be replaced as committee chair by Malusi Motimele.

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