Feathers ruffled in Parliament committee

2017-03-28 23:16
Mathole Motshekga (GCIS)

Mathole Motshekga (GCIS)

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Cape Town - Feathers were ruffled in Parliament’s justice committee on Tuesday, when the committee chairperson addressed a few gripes he had with the executive and a political party. 

After a moment of silence to observe the death of stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga chided the justice ministry’s request to postpone the meeting, at which it would present its annual report.

Motshekga said as chairperson he was accountable to Parliament and the political parties represented. 

“We are a committee of Parliament, not a sub-structure of the executive.” 

Therefore, they did not expect the executive to tell them when to postpone meetings and when to meet, he said.

Both Justice Acting Minister Faith Muthambi and Deputy Minister John Jeffery were at the meeting on Tuesday. Muthambi is standing in for Minister Michael Masutha, who is ill.

Communication 'unacceptable' 

The chairperson then told the DA he would not bow to pressure and be told who to summon. He said the party first ran to the media, which then put pressure on him.

The DA last week called for the committee to summon justice, state security, and police ministers to brief the committee about the break-in at the Office of the Chief Justice on March 18.

“I am not going to work that way, you cannot go to media first with the requests,” Motshekga said. 

Jeffery said they had asked for Tuesday’s meeting to be held on Wednesday, as he had a standing engagement with the SA Human Rights Commission.

He had communicated this through the parliamentary office, which Motshekga said he found unacceptable.

“If a minister wants to communicate with me, he can’t do it through PROs,” Motshekga told the ministers.

Jeffery said unless it was urgent, the executive should not be expected to drop everything. He was not happy that he had to postpone his meeting with the SAHRC, which would pose some problems.

Communication between the executive and the committee had to be improved, the ministry said. 

They reiterated their commitment to accounting to Parliament.

The DA's Werner Horn advised Motshekga to change his approach.  

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  politics 2017

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