'Hobnobbing' Mbalula under fire

01 December 2016 - 02:00 By Babalo Ndenze

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has come under fire from opposition MPs for "hobnobbing" in Spain instead of attending a National Assembly question-and-answer session. It is the second time in a row he has missed a session.

Fikile Mbalula
Fikile Mbalula
Image: Sunday Times

Ministers in the social cluster were scheduled to give oral replies to MPs' questions yesterday, but some failed to attend, sending their deputies instead.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said at the chief whips' forum earlier yesterday it was still unclear whether Mbalula would be at the session.

"The constitution is very clear that ministers are accountable collectively and individually to parliament. I think this parliament should take a dim view of a minister who has prioritised a trip abroad over his duty to account to the people of South Africa," said Steenhuisen.

He said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the leader of government business, gave an assurance MPs would see an improvement in the accountability of ministers.

"We have not seen an improvement ... In a year a minister must come at least three times. To miss two in a row is disrespectful to this house," said Steenhuisen.

EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu said it had been agreed among all political parties that Mbalula "must stop hobnobbing at the expense of parliament".

"He travels for things that have no relationship with sports development. He's apparently in Spain now. For what we do not know."

Mbalula's spokesman, Esethu Hasane, said the minister was not in Spain to "take selfies".

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