ANC agrees to Gupta debate in Parliament

Johannesburg - A debate on the use of Waterkloof Airforce Base by the Gupta family will be held in Parliament, the ANC said on Thursday.

"As an open and transparent forum for debate on matters of national importance, Parliament has a responsibility to reflect on this matter in the interest of the people of South Africa," said Moloto Mothapo, spokesperson for African National Congress Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga.

"We cannot allow a situation whereby our ports of entry and national key points are penetrated with impunity."

He said the ANC had proposed that the debate be scheduled from 4 to 7 June.

"The motivation for the scheduling of the debate during that week takes into consideration the congested programme of Parliament, due to the stream of budget vote debates currently underway," Mothapo said.

"It is also envisaged that the government investigation into this matter would have been concluded by that time."

He said the multi-party chief whip's forum would consider the scheduling proposal at its next meeting and would make a recommendation to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu.

The Democratic Alliance earlier asked that President Jacob Zuma be present at the debate.

"We urge President Zuma to make himself available for this debate so that he can answer for his role in this saga," DA Chief Whip Watty Watson in a statement.

"The presidency can no longer remain silent on this matter of public importance."

He said Sisulu had granted his request for a debate on the matter, and he hoped time would be made available for this as a matter of urgency.

"The abuse of government resources in this scandal has seriously undermined the integrity and security of the state, and Parliament must do everything within its powers to ensure that all those responsible are held to account," said Watson.

"It is critical that the National Assembly be heard on this matter and that public representatives are able to exercise their constitutionally mandated oversight role."

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