Govt rejects reports on Parly questions

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pretoria - Government has strongly rejected claims in the weekend press reports under the headline, "Ministers duck MPs' queries" that certain Cabinet Ministers disregard Parliamentary oversight by failing to answer Parliamentary questions.

"Ministers take their Parliamentary work responsibilities very seriously and are cognisant of the crucial role that Parliament plays in holding the executive to account and performing oversight over the workings of Government," said Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi in a statement on Monday.

He said in many instances, ministers do more than just comply with expectations, even as they face their mammoth service delivery obligations, which often demand their involvement in activities in addition to their National Assembly obligations.

While ministers strive to ensure that replies to Parliamentary questions are submitted within the stipulated 10-day period, there are instances where the questions demand extensive research and supporting statistical data.

In other instances, information which resides outside departments, or is the prerogative of other spheres of government, places ministers is in a position where they are not able to respond to such questions.

Manyi said investigative journalism into the composition of these questions would not only support this, but also ascertain whether these questions are in the advancement of Parliamentary oversight of the executive or a mechanism being "abused to score cheap political points."

"There are mechanisms within Cabinet to ensure the executive is accountable to their Parliamentary obligations and ministers are committed to this process.

"GCIS plans to host a workshop with the media to share best practices, successes and/or challenges experienced by ministers in relation to Parliamentary questions. This workshop will take place in the second week of September 2011," Manyi said.

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