ANC wants radical truancy policy for MPs

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iol news pic nu Mathole Motshekga Independent Newspapers ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga. File photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Cape Town -

All political parties are being urged to support tough new measures to crack down on truant MPs, ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said on Tuesday.

In his year-end statement, Motshekga said the African National Congress was fully behind an attendance and leave policy, which would act as a deterrent to absenteeism and poor attendance by MPs across the political divide.

“In its current draft, the policy includes sanctions against defaulters which range from fines and salary deductions to expulsion from Parliament,” said Motshekga.

The draft policy proposed measures which included that MP's salaries be docked R500 for every day they were absent.

MPs could also be removed from their seats if they were absent for more than 30 days.

The policy was rejected by some MPs in an August ANC caucus meeting.

Some ANC MPs felt the policy was badly written and did not draw a distinction between ministers and ordinary members.

They also opposed the imposition of fines on the basis that this would clash with the work done by Parliament's joint ethics committee.

Despite the criticism, Motshekga said radical measures were needed.

“We will urge parties to adopt this important policy to ensure that Parliament’s dignity, accountability and discipline are preserved.”

In the same statement, Motshekga patted his caucus on the back for maintaining three unqualified audits and contributing to the enactment of progressive bills.

“Parliament in 2012 grappled with a total of 30 draft legislations in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, 13 of which were signed into law by President Jacob Zuma,” he said.

However, Motshekga bemoaned the fact that inter-party relations had worsened this year, singling out the Democratic Alliance.

He accused the party of going beyond “the bounds of acceptable political and ideological differences”.

“The fist-banging of tables by the DA MPs during one of the sittings, based on what was later found to be a misinterpretation of the rules, will surely go down as the year 2012’s most disgraceful day in Parliament.” - Sapa


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