Mahlangu-Nkabinde: Didn't dodge meetings
Johannesburg - Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde said on Monday that, contrary to some media reports; it was she who had requested an opportunity to brief members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on public works about the situation surrounding the "Roux Shabangu" leases of office space for police.
In a statement, the minister said she wrote to the portfolio committee chairperson on August 1 2011 requesting an opportunity to address the committee.
"I asked for a slot in the diary to allow me to give them full details," she said "but before I was allotted a time the president had referred the public protector's report on the matter to the speaker of the National Assembly".
Parliamentary procedure meant that the speaker would then make a decision as to the best way forward, the minister added.
In due course the speaker did refer the matter to the portfolio committee on public works and the minister and her legal team, including Enver Daniels, chief state law adviser, attended the meeting of the committee held on August 23.
At that meeting the committee chairperson said that the matter would be postponed until October 10 2011 when a special joint sitting of police and public works portfolio committees would take place.
"My ministry followed proper procedure in all of these engagements with Parliament," said the minister. "It is completely untrue that my ministry tried to avoid attending the portfolio committees, the truth is that it was me who initiated the process."
The minister said that she welcomed the joint sitting. "It is in the best interests of South Africa that this matter be discussed publicly and I can assure South Africans that we are working as hard as we can to ensure that wrong-doing by officials in the department of public works is rooted out and the perpetrators brought to justice."