ANC defends Winnie's absence from Parliament

2015-06-12 21:26

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Johannesburg - The ANC has come out defending party stalwart and MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela following a report that she has been AWOL from Parliament for a prolonged period of time.

Madikizela-Mandela has come under fire before for her absenteeism from the Parliament while she continues to reportedly earn almost R1 million a year.

The office of the chief whip on Friday said Madikizela-Mandela had in fact attending several sittings this year, including the State of the Nation Address and the budget speeches.

However, her "fragile health and myriad social obligations" had been taken into consideration and ANC chief whip Stone Sizani had taken the decision to excuse her from the Cape Town-based parliamentary programmes, his office said in a statement.

"Her schedule is designed in such a way that it allows her to fulfil her parliamentary constituency and other social obligations which are characteristic to the person of her stature in our society.

"She is in constant liaison with the office of the chief whip regarding the programmes she undertakes outside of Parliament and the state of her health, including forwarding medical certificates from her doctor," the chief whip's office said.

The ANC was reacting to a report in The New Age on Friday that Madikizela-Mandela had not been seen in Parliament since the SONA on February 12.

Not push too hard

Sizani's office said it was happy with her work on the ground with the people. Her public interaction was mostly conducted through her Mamelodi constituency office, it said.

"While the work that she does is appreciated and encouraged, the chief whip often persuades her not to push herself too hard given her fragile health, which is normal for the person of her age.

"Mama Winnie’s programme is therefore a matter that has been arranged and agreed upon between herself and the office of the chief whip, taking into consideration her health and the demands of her community outreach programmes," it said.

Last year October, Madikizela-Mandela had surgery. It was not clear what the operation was for.

In November 2011, she was treated for an existing diabetes condition at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg and in September that same year she was admitted to the Life Brenthurst Clinic in Parktown for surgery on her ankle.

In June 2012, Madikizela-Mandela was admitted to hospital again and underwent surgery after falling and breaking her right wrist.

Read more on:    anc  |  winnie madikizela-mandela  |  cape town  |  politics

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