CAPE TOWN – National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has warned Cabinet ministers not to be “hands-off, ears-off” politicians when it came to answering to Parliament for their departments’ finances.
Modise said some ministers over the years had tended to leave it to officials to attend parliamentary committee meetings. She issued the caution while presenting Parliament’s budget on Tuesday.
The national legislature asked for R3 billion but was only granted just over R2.6 billion, leaving it with a shortfall of R340 million.
Modise said Parliament does not hold the administration to account, but rather, the executive.
“Therefore that temptation for ministers to be hands-off and ears-off from the financial execution of the business can be detrimental if things go wrong,” she said.
The speaker also warned against truant ministers who fail to pitch for plenary sittings and question and answer sessions in Parliament.
“The president will get reports about attendance, especially at debates and question sessions,” Modise said.
She said the code of conduct for Members of Parliament would be tightened up. She also wanted the ethics committee to finalise long-delayed cases involving breaches of the code of conduct.
“What should concern the committee is to maintain and preserve the integrity of Parliament. This, we hope, will be done as quickly as possible, so that any member whose matter may not have been concluded, can find relief.”
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