ANC warns paper over 'directive' to MPs

2013-05-05 21:56
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The office of the ANC chief whip on Sunday said it would ask the Sunday Times to retract a report about a document that was circulated, asking ANC MPs to be lenient when posing questions to ministers, so to save them from embarrassment.

The paper said the new "protocol for good practice and conduct" was distributed by the African National Congress to its whips in the National Assembly.

According to the report, part of the document read: "Questions for ministers should emanate from study groups, clusters and constituency work and should never be used to embarrass or ridicule ANC deployees."

Spokesperson for the chief whip's office, Moloto Mothapo, said the article was a "deceptive and narrow" interpretation of the information in the document.

"We are dismayed by the journalist's deliberate falsehoods, deceits and fabrications - which were published without even affording us an opportunity to respond.

"We will therefore be asking the paper for a retraction or file a complaint with the Press Ombudsman," said Mothapo.

He said it was expected of ANC MPs to ask ministers critical, constructive and substantive questions so Cabinet ministers could improve their performance.

Mothapo accused the paper of leaving out parts of the document which mentioned how ministers were expected to make themselves available to answer questions as well as to improve the quality of their answers.

The Democratic Alliance said ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga should be found in contempt of Parliament if the new protocol disempowered MPs in any way.

"This new policy runs the risk of disempowering the oversight performed by the majority of Members of Parliament, and must therefore be interrogated by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu," DA chief whip Watty Watson said.

He said he would ask Sisulu to investigate the matter quickly.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  max sisulu  |  media  |  politics

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