President Zuma dodges accountability before NCOP: claims DA

AUGUST 30, 2016

President Jacob Zuma has reportedly postponed his appearance in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for a Questions to the President session, originally scheduled for Thursday, next week, to late October.

According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), it received communication on Monday that the President “requested” that the question session be moved.

"Soon after, the NCOP Chief Whip’s office communicated that 'the new proposed date for Questions to the President is 25 October', moving it a term away. This is likely due to the President’s international travels," said Cathleen Labuschagne, the DA's Whip in the NCOP.

"While we are mindful of the President’s international commitments, this does not absolve him from making himself available to Parliament. Additionally, this question session was scheduled months in advance and he should have planned accordingly to account to the South Africans here at home to which he is accountable.

"This conveniently timed rescheduling only bolsters the DA’s contention that he is trying all manner of ways to avoid interrogation on the controversial issues that have outraged South Africans. These  include the crises at our SOEs and State agencies and a proxy war that has left much economic uncertainty."

The NCOP’s oversight role is to evaluate the effect of national legislation and Executive decisions on the provinces and ground level.

"We cannot fulfil this role when the President cherry-picks, based on the current political climate, whether or when he fulfils his constitutional obligations to Parliament," Labuschagne said.

"I will therefore write to the Chairperson of Council today, requesting that full written reasons be furnished to Parliament for this postponement. This must include the details of his international travels, if not provided yet. I will also submit a proposal at the next NCOP Rules Committee meeting to include and amend oral question rules to bring these in line with National Assembly (NA) rules, which requires the President to appear for questions once a term.

"Holding the Executive to account is the primary, constitutionally demanded function of Parliament which cannot be ignored by the President and his government as the political winds change. We will do our level best to ensure that the President appears to answer for his and his governments’ conduct within this term of the fifth Parliament."