Opposition parties accuse MECs of delaying tactics: Saturday Dispatch

OPPOSITION parties in the legislature have complained about the delay of answers, changes to questions, and unsatisfactory responses to questions submitted to different departments.

Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs have expressed dissatisfaction on what they call delaying tactics by MECs.

DA MPL and Shadow MEC for Education, Edmund van Vuuren, accused Education MEC, Mandla Makapula, of unacceptable behaviour when dealing with his parliamentary questions on education.

Van Vuuren has now called on Makapula to “avoid being embarrassed in parliament” and respond to overdue questions submitted for answering.

“The two-week deadline for these replies is long overdue. The MEC had stated that the replies would be available last week Friday yet some replies are still outstanding.”

Van Vuuren said it was unacceptable that to date, 10 questions that had been submitted to the MEC five months ago had not been answered.

“Ten of my responses have been outstanding since the beginning of the new term,” he said. EFF legislature leader Themba Wele echoed similar sentiments saying that submission of questions was marred by late responses.

“One problem I had was that questions I sent to a certain MEC are still not responded to. There is just a protracted period when it comes to answering. However the MEC who I submitted the questions to came to me personally to clarify the delay,” Wele said.

Legislature spokeswoman Bulelwa Ganyaza said that when MPLs were dissatisfied with answers they were usually given an opportunity for follow-up answers.

“When MECs answer questions for oral reply, the member who asked the question is given an opportunity to make a follow-up. In this way, if the member is not satisfied with the answer, such member will raise it through follow-up questions,” Ganyaza said.

She said MECs were required to give an explanation when they’ve delayed answering questions put to them.

“There are times when questions are responded to later. In those circumstances, the relevant MECs are required not only to respond to the question but also to give an explanation why the answers are delayed,” she said.

In July this year the Dispatch reported that questions relating to the Mandela funeral funds scandal, submitted by DA leader Athol Trollip to premier Phumulo Masualle for his oral reply, had been changed.

In a veiled reference to Trollip’s incident, Ganyaza said: “An investigation on this matter was done and a ruling in the House was made. This matter was closed to the satisfaction of the question originator.” — siphem@dispatch.