Practical measures to govern Ministerial Parly participation

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Deputy President David Mabuza says the executive has taken several measures to deal with concerns over the non-attendance of Ministers and Deputy Ministers to Parliamentary programmes.

The Deputy President said this when he fielded questions from Members of Parliament.

John Steenhuisen, the chief whip of the opposition representing the DA, had asked whether the Deputy President, since his appointment as the Leader of Government Business on 27 February 2018, put any mechanisms in place to ensure that Members of the Executive appear before the National Assembly to deal with government business.

“At the outset, it is important to deal with any perception that suggests that members of the executive are not fulfilling their expected responsibilities and obligations in this esteemed House.
“As a matter of course, Parliament must hold the Executive accountable on a range of matters pertaining to the work of government. As a voice of ordinary people, Parliament must be respected to ensure that the work of the Executive is subjected to scrutiny and necessary accountability measures.
“The Executive takes this responsibility seriously. That is why we respond to questions sent to the Executive and make it a point that we appear before this House to account,” he said.

He said government has taken practical measures to deal with the problem of non-attendance of parliamentary programmes by members of the executive.

Among other key measures are:

  • Streamlining communication to ensure that where Ministers are unable to attend, such should be communicated to Presiding Officers way in advance so that alternative arrangements could be made;
  • Introducing a roster on the attendance of parliamentary sessions by the members of the executive;
  • Government’s intention to appoint three members of the executive to assist with monitoring the attendance of parliamentary sessions by the Ministers; and
  • The introduction of monitoring and tracking mechanisms to ensure that Members of the Executive respond timeously to parliamentary questions.

The Deputy President said that in this regard, proactive reminders will be sent to ensure that Ministers deal with outstanding parliamentary questions.
“It is therefore expected that there will be great improvement in the future.
“As we implement these improvement measures, it is also worth pointing out that it is incumbent upon Parliament to enforce its constitutionally defined role and powers.

“The expectation on the side of the Executive, is that this is respected in line with obligations placed on each and every one of us, to promote and protect the virtues of our Constitution.
“Ultimately, we all want the relationship between Parliament and the Executive to be harmonious.

“We want it to be focused on an agenda of advancing the interest of the electorate in a manner that is interdependent and reinforcing. Our energies must be focused on producing concrete outcomes that place the interest and development of the people at the centre. That should be our pre-occupation,” he said. – 

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