Deal with absentee ministers, Ramaphosa tells Parliament

2016-12-07 20:21
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File)

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Cape Town – If ministers are not fulfilling their duties towards Parliament, the institution should deal with them, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

Addressing the National Assembly during his final question-and-answer session, Ramaphosa lauded ministers and deputy ministers for their improvement in accounting to Parliament.

This included during oral question sessions, as well as in answering written questions, he said.

Answering a question on co-operation between the executive authority and Parliament, Ramaphosa said, while the number of questions had increased, the rate of responses had remained high.

And it would get better, he said, as he would keep "nudging and cajoling" ministers to be accountable.

"If Parliament is of the view that they are not living up to their responsibility, the matter should then be dealt with by Parliament. And Parliament, having discussed the matter, should then decide on what action it wishes to take against those members of the executive," he said.

'We have options'

They would continue to get better and strive to "make you proud", Ramaphosa told the MPs.

He said he and ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu were dealing with the matter. 

"On this issue of accountability of members, it is not like we are helpless or have no options. We have a Parliament that one is accountable to."  

Asked by DA leader Mmusi Maimane if he, as leader of government business, regretted his decision to vote against the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa said the DA should accept the decision of the majority.

He was also questioned over Zuma's previous statements that he had not been given enough time to answer questions during the probe into allegations of state capture.

EFF MP Ntombovuyo Mente asked Ramaphosa if Zuma had lied to Parliament. She also asked the deputy president what he had to say about a president who lied to MPs.

Ramaphosa told Mente to ask Zuma the question next year.

"Next time he is here, you have to be in the House and ask him. Don't ask your question to him through other people. I will also tell him there is someone who wants to ask you a question, and will be here next time you ask," Ramaphosa said.

Condom use, abstinence

He fielded questions on the minimum wage, as well as the high levels of HIV infections among adolescent girls.

The deputy president, who this time did not bring condoms with him, said young girls who were having sexual intercourse with older men were at great risk.

Young people between the ages of 13 and 24 were the most exposed.

He encouraged parents to find the courage to talk about HIV and sex to their children.

He also lamented the stigma that was still attached to HIV/Aids.

He said, while condom usage was the government's constant message to the youth and everyone who is sexually active, abstinence was what they were teaching the young.

"We tell them that it [sex] is much nicer when you are older. You must wait," he said.

He again praised government's new flavoured condoms, saying they were very popular and in high demand.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  parliament 2016

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