Ramaphosa says not his job to keep Dlamini accountable

2017-11-01 18:21
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in the National Assembly. (Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in the National Assembly. (Adrian de Kock, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – The leader of government business, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, passed the buck on holding truant ministers to account to Parliament. 

Ramaphosa answered questions in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday when DA MP Bronwynn Engelbrecht asked, "In respect of his role as leader of government business, how has the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini been allowed to avoid appearing before the Portfolio Committee on Social Development regarding her role in the allegations at the SA Social Security Agency?"

Ramaphosa said as leader of government business, he regularly tables a report to Cabinet on the activities of members of the executive.

"It is not the function of the leader of government business to discipline members of the executive," he said. "I have always said it is Parliament that should do so. As members of the executive, we are accountable to Parliament."

The power to sanction ministers

He said Parliament has the authority to sanction ministers.

"Such powers do not reside with the leader of government business," said Ramaphosa.

He said he had personally discussed with Dlamini "working with the committee in a cooperative way" and pointed out that she did attend a joint meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on Tuesday. 

He said, in his view, ministers fail to attend meetings and sittings because of scheduling and not "because there is a reluctance to deal with ... matters".

Engelbrecht, in her follow-up question, said Dlamini evaded accountability and violated an order of the Constitutional Court.

"Yet she is still being protected by the ANC," said Engelbrecht.

"You do need to accept responsibility," she told Ramaphosa. "What will you do to ensure the minister is held accountable?"

The ball is in Parliament's court

Ramaphosa replied: "It is not so much what I will do, it's much more what Parliament will do."

He said grandstanding has no use, the problem must be solved.

EFF MP Tebogo Mokwele said Dlamini isn't the only problem, there is also a problem with "Gupta-linked ministers", interference from "uBaba kaDuduzane" and "ministers appointed at Saxonwold".

She used Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi as an example of an "incapacitated member of cabinet".

Ramaphosa waxed on in a similar vein to his previous answers and said: "We are all accountable."

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Read more on:    parliament  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  bathabile dlamini

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