DA to oppose 'problematic' ANC committee chairpersons

01 July 2019 - 15:55
The DA says it will lay formal complaints against several nominees, including Faith Muthambi.
Image: Esa Alexander The DA says it will lay formal complaints against several nominees, including Faith Muthambi.

The DA will oppose the election of ANC nominees and field its own candidates to chair parliament's portfolio committees.

A total of 33 oversight committees of the National Assembly and joint committees of both the assembly and the National Council of Provinces will meet for the first time on Tuesday to elect their chairpersons.

Where the DA is not putting forward its own candidates, it will support candidates from other opposition parties to chair those particular committees.

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The party says it will also approach the institution's ethics committee to lay formal complaints against several nominees including Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, Bongani Bongo and Supra Mahumapelo whose designations it deemed questionable.

"We will be laying ethics committee complaints with the ethics committee against all the committee chairpersons with substantial allegations against them. They should not be eligible for these key positions of responsibility they are in," said DA chief whip John Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen said it was highly likely that flowing from the Zondo commission, a number of issues would be forwarded to parliament to probe further and deal with. "It is simply not going to be credible for those committees to have people who are both compromised and conflicted heading these particular portfolio committees," he said.

Two weeks ago, the ANC announced as its chairperson-designates some of its members who have been implicated in the ongoing state capture inquiry. The party said they had been cleared of wrongdoing by its integrity committee.

Steenhuisen, however, noted that individuals were deployed to these key positions by a strong faction within the governing party that was not interested in cleaning up corruption as a rearguard action to ensure those responsible and accountable for what happened under state capture were never brought to justice.

"It is impossible for somebody who themself is an accused in the state capture saga to probe with any credibility allegations of state capture. This is a rearguard action by that faction to make sure that nobody is ever brought to justice and that there are no consequences for those who have done wrongdoing," said Steenhuisen.

He said there had been informal discussions with other political parties in parliament to oppose the election of the ANC candidates.

He said the stance would be an important line in the sand for good people in the ANC who knew these candidates were compromised as they knew the potential they had to do tremendous damage to parliament's credibility and the ability of committees to do their job as envisaged.

"I would hope that if they are not prepared to do the right thing by staying away, or abstaining or in the unlikely event voting with the opposition in support of the best interest of parliament, their names will be recorded as having backed these chairpersons of portfolio committees and they will be complicit in placing these compromised individuals in these positions."

If all fails on Tuesday, the DA said when state capture and other controversies were placed before the committees in question, it would table a motion for the compromised chairpersons to recuse themselves from committee meetings due to a conflict of interest.

The ANC bowed to pressure from lobby group Equal Education last week and dumped Zukisa Faku as its nominee to chair the basic education committee. Faku was convicted of theft and fraud and sentenced to three years' house arrest by the East London Magistrate's Court in 2016. She is appealing the verdict.