QOBOSHIYANE SLAMS OPPOSITION FOR WALKOUT: DAILY DISPATCH

EASTERN Cape Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane has accused opposition parties’ members of “venturing into a siesta” and displaying “immature” behaviour.

In a strongly worded letter to the speaker of the Bhisho Legislature, Qoboshiyane slammed MPLs for marching out of a strategic planning workshop in Port Elizabeth on June 14.

Qoboshiyane did not pitch up to do a presentation for the governance and administration cluster subcommittee to members of the legislature and instead asked a senior official to do so on his behalf.

However, the matter was postponed when opposition members insisted Qoboshiyane do the presentation himself. When he did not show up again for the second scheduled session, opposition MPLs decided to walk out instead.

Qoboshiyane has since slammed their June 14 action and in a letter to legislature speaker Fikile Xasa he accused the opposition of trying to embarrass him.

He said he had other important commitments, which were scheduled before he was invited to the workshop by the legislature.

“Mr Speaker, as a member of the legislature and a member of the executive council, I potently feel embarrassed by the conduct of my fellow colleagues who represent opposition parties in our legislature.

“Their clannish conduct was not only lugubrious but also attempted to put relations between the executive and the legislature in a precarious position – something diametrically contrary to the provisions of the constitution of the republic,” Qoboshiyane wrote.

“It is also, Mr Speaker, my view this brisk decision goaded a perception that [MPLs] acted in a matter that suggests they abdicated their constitutional responsibilities of oversight by rather venturing into a siesta and not their work.”

Opposition party members have welcomed the request by Qoboshiyane to have the matter investigated by Xasa.

UDM MPL Zukiswa Hlekiso-Thabaneng said the meeting did not fulfil its purpose and members were within their rights to walk out.

She said Qoboshiyane was undermining MPLs and the legislature as he did not send a formal apology.

“I do not report to him, therefore he would not know what I did after we walked out of that meeting. The leader of the UDM in the legislature knows exactly what I did.

“I attended the legislature’s public participation petition committee which was chaired by the speaker himself. It started late because we had earlier waited for Qoboshiyane,” said Hlekiso-Thabaneng.

DA legislature leader Bobby Stevenson said: “What needs to be investigated is why he did not arrive in the first place and secondly, only when he was strongly requested to come did he arrive late.

“We were told he’d be arriving at 10am but he was not there at 11.30am. We were then informed he’d arrive at lunch time.”

Stevenson said the MEC had wasted the legislature’s time.

“I welcome the speaker’s investigation on the matter,” he added.

He said MPLs had other appointments to attend and he had an appointment with the CEO of a state institution that afternoon.

“We were all busy,” he said — abongilem@dispatch.co.za