DA fails in bid to stop controversial ANC MPs from becoming committee chairs

2019-07-02 15:32
Parliament Committee room. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Parliament Committee room. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Despite the DA's attempts to put up its own candidates, several controversial ANC figures were elected chairpersons of various National Assembly portfolio committees on Tuesday.

The general trend was that the DA nominated their own MPs to oppose some of the ANC's nominations, but only DA MPs ended up voting for them.

The newly elected chairpersons committed to working together.

Faith Muthambi, who was found to be "incompetent" by a parliamentary ad hoc committee, was elected chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Before the election, DA MP Hanniff Hoosen asked the committee secretary about processes to object. 

ANC MPs Dikeledi Direko and Bheki Hadebe said they had been sworn in and therefore they were suitable for positions as committee chairpersons.

The ANC nominated Muthambi and Hoosen nominated himself. Muthambi won five votes to two. 

Hoosen said they would work with her, but that she must remember that she should serve the people of South Africa - not the ANC.

Muthambi agreed, saying it should not be about party politics. 

Zwane chairs transport committee

At the same time, controversial former Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane, edged out DA MP Chris Hunsinger to be elected chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport. 

Zwane is the former Free State agriculture MEC who became embroiled in allegations of state capture relating to the Estina diary farm matter. He became the mineral resources minister under former president Jacob Zuma, during which time it was alleged that he did the Guptas' bidding.  

DA MP, Thamsanqa Mabhena, without directly referring to anyone, said: "I think as the Portfolio Committee on Transport, we are vested with oversight over a lot of entities within the transport sector and as such, I think it is quite important we have a chairperson with integrity, someone that does not have any cloud hanging over his head, someone that will serve the best interests of the committee and will serve the citizens of the country with impeccable integrity.

"As such, I would like to nominate honourable Chris Hunsinger, a seasoned politician and member of this committee in the fifth Parliament," Mabhena said as a bored-looking Zwane looked on. 

ANC MP Lawrence McDonald nominated Zwane, who "humbly" accepted the nomination. 

Zwane bagged five votes while Hunsinger received three votes.

Maswanganyi is in at finance

Former Minister of Transport, Joseph Maswanganyi, was elected chairperson of Parliament's Standing Committee on Finance unopposed. 

Committee whip Noxolo Abraham nominated Maswanganyi and the nomination - seconded by ANC MP Dorothy Mabiletsa - was accepted.

The cordial meeting went off without a hitch and it ended with the newly elected chairperson calling for a group photo. 

Sfiso Buthelezi was elected chairperson of the Standing Committee on Appropriations. The one-time board chairperson of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA and former Deputy Minister of Finance was nominated by ANC MP Xolisile Qayiso.

DA MP Denis Joseph nominated himself, causing ANC MPs in the committee to burst out laughing. Six votes went to Buthelezi while Joseph received two.

Taking up the seat, Buthelezi, concurring with EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini, stressed the need for non-partisan action in the committee and said that while nobody would forget their party allegiances, there would be no symbolic raising of party flags in the committee. The South African flag would be the only flag raised. 

Speaking to News24 after the proceedings adjourned, Joseph stated that "the president in his SONA (State of the Nation Address) speech referred to good governance" and people elected in committees "must understand good governance".

He said there were some questions over Buthelezi's credibility.

Tina Joemat-Petterson elected at police

Former Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson was elected chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police. The DA's Andrew Whitfield nominated himself. 

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald likened the election to three lions and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. 

All parties agreed that they must work together against the scourge of crime. 

Joemat-Pettersson noted that President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned safety and crime prevention as one of his priorities in his SONA.

The former premier of the North West, Supra Mahumapelo, was elected chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism unopposed after there was no one to second the nomination of the DA's Manny de Freitas.

Mahumapelo said the committee should work together and use their ideological differences to strengthen their work, rather than let it divide them. De Freitas agreed that they should work together.

Read more on:    anc  |  politics
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