The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on KwaZulu-Natal Legislature speaker, Nontembeko Boyce, to urgently investigate the ongoing absenteeism of several minority political party members within the provincial parliament.

DA in the KZN Legislature, Francois Rodgers, made the appeal on Tuesday during a Legislature Budget Sitting, in terms of Standing Rules 28 and 29. His call comes after smaller political parties have apparently avoided attending sittings, portfolio committee meetings and oversight inspections for several months now.

“The DA cannot accept that despite members of these parties being remunerated with salaries of more than R1 million per annum, they simply fail to pitch up,” Rodgers said.

“In addition, they seem to completely ignore the fact that they are failing to represent their electorate in their role within the legislature. This is simply shocking and unacceptable,” he said.

“It is also ironic that while they bemoan non-compliance by officials and members of the executive, they themselves are failing in their duties. Accountability is not a one-way road and they need to practice what they preach,” Rodgers said.

Another area which the DA called on the speaker to review was the removal of motions, oral questions and interpellations during virtual legislature sittings. 

“While we acknowledge that this may have been necessary during the early days of Covid-19, the art of virtual meetings has now been mastered. These are vital forms of engagement and an essential part of opposition oversight in terms of holding the ANC-led executive to account. The DA can see no reason why they should not be reintroduced into the virtual regulations,” he said.

He also urged the speaker to ensure that the legislature’s mandate, to perform oversight of provincial institutions in line with Section 114 of the Constitution, was upheld. 

“This is particularly relevant in terms of KZN’s health institutions where the DA continues to face resistance by the MEC and her Department. It is untenable that there should be no-go areas or that the Department of Health should simply make its own rules. It also appears KZN is the only province where this is happening,” Rodgers said.

“In terms of the standing rules the DA has written to the speaker for a ruling on this matter. It cannot be that all provincial departments other than Health allow access for oversight by members of the legislature,” he said.

.

Presh JM Reporter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *