Cape Town – It has become a trait of the Fifth Parliament that ministers are absent when they know they will be faced with tough questions.
And this week was no exception.
Here’s News24’s gallery of rogue ministers who dodged accountability the past week: Mmamoloko Kubayi, Bathabile Dlamini and Faith Muthambi.
1. Minister of Energy Mmamoloko Kubayi
Mmamoloko Kubayi. (Photo: GCIS)
With PetroSA posting record losses and the directors of the Central Energy Fund recently suspended, and an investigation into alleged tender irregularities of R80 million relating to the nuclear deal hanging like a mushroom-cloud over her department, Kubayi was bound to be faced with tough questions at the meeting of the portfolio committee on energy, scheduled for Tuesday. By Monday afternoon, however, the meeting was struck off the list of committee meetings, TimesLive reported.
In a Twitter spat with DA spokesperson for energy, Gordon Mackay, Kubayi denied that she dodged the meeting.
“When did I ran from parliament? I'm in PC on 22nd as per programme of committee send to me. Read rules of Parly before u speak (sic),” she tweeted.
In response, Mackay tweeted the notice of the meeting he received, which has the status of the PetroSA board and the suspension of the Central Energy Fund board on its agenda.
A meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, with a briefing by the Department of Energy on their fourth quarter Performance Report for 2016/17 on the agenda.
2. Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini
Bathabile Dlamini (Photo: GCIS)
The previous time Dlamini appeared before the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) about the shambolic state of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), many "smallanyana skeletons" were yanked out of the closet. This is in contrast to the portfolio committee on social development, whose opposition MPs often expressed their frustration at not being allowed to hold Dlamini to account.
Sassa had to appear before Scopa again on Tuesday, but recently appointed interim CEO Pearl Bhengu had to face the music alone.
Dlamini had excused herself from the meeting on Sunday, saying she had to attend a government function in line with her department. The event she had to attend? The launch of an app.
3. Minister of Public Service and Administration Faith Muthambi
Faith Muthambi (Photo: GCIS)
Ever since the ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC board in December last year grilled Muthambi at a much higher heat than what she was used to at the portfolio committee of communications, Muthambi hasn’t exactly been a regular feature in Parliament’s committee rooms.
On Tuesday she would have had to account to the portfolio committee on public service and administration on allegations that she used state funds to the tune of R300 000 to fly family and friends to attend her budget speech in May. But, alas, the committee remained Faith-less.
According to committee chairperson Dr Makhosi Khoza, Muthambi did not offer an apology. The committee decided that it will summon Muthambi, who has never attended a meeting of the committee since she was moved to this portfolio in President Jacob Zuma’s late night cabinet reshuffle in March, to a meeting and that she and her director general will be liable out of their own pockets for the costs of the meeting.
Muthambi’s spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba told News24 that "certain circumstances prevented" her from attending the meeting. What these “circumstances” were, he didn’t say.
Two days later Khoza was fired as chairperson of the committee.