At this morning’s meeting of the National Assembly Programme Committee, I was informed that, at the Presidency’s behest, the Oral Questions to the President session scheduled for 11 March will not be extended to include the unanswered questions from the session held on 21 August 2014.
Speaker Baleka Mbete assured me that she was in talks with the Presidency and is securing a provisional oral question session date to compensate for this.
However, the fact that the Presidency is now dictating Parliament’s programme, and the Speaker has to plead with it for dates, is simply absurd and a complete dereliction of duty on her part.
I have insisted that the Speaker confirm this new date before the 11 March Oral Questions session in order to provide the opposition with time to adequately prepare.
In the meantime I will write to both the Speaker and Leader of Government Business, Cyril Ramaphosa, and request a full breakdown of the exchanges that have taken place between The Presidency and Parliament on this issue in order to determine the reasons behind their decision.
The President is elected by Parliament and is obligated to account to the institution through oral questions at least once every term, as per Rule 111 of the National Assembly. This abbreviated questions session has simply provided the President with another opportunity to escape accountability.
The DA will continue to pressure the Speaker to ensure that the President meets his obligations and accounts to Parliament on the many burning questions South Africa faces.
Issued by DA