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Cape Town - The chairwoman of Parliament's portfolio committee on social development should be suspended, the SA Older Persons' Forum said on Wednesday.
“(We) believe committee chairwoman Yolanda Botha’s suspension should have been initiated by the ANC, in line with the party’s constitution,” it said.
“However, in the absence of the necessary steps being taken by the ANC, we would like to formally request that the Honourable Speaker (Max Sisulu) remove Botha with immediate effect from all other Parliamentary structures deemed necessary.”
The forum wrote to African National Congress Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga and Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu on Wednesday, asking them to suspend Botha.
The forum said the request was in light of Parliament's ethics committee having found in 2011 that Botha received benefits from a corrupt relationship with the property group, Trifecta Investment Holdings.
“Parliament’s oversight function is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, and having a member that was found guilty still serving as a chairperson of such an important committee is totally unacceptable.”
Oversight of the executive could “under no circumstances” be allowed to be undermined by officials found guilty of such conduct, the forum said.
In October, the National Prosecuting Authority obtained an order to attach R24 million in assets belonging to Botha.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit obtained the order in the Northern Cape High Court.
The unit successfully argued that Botha disregarded tender procedures while she was the head of social development in the Northern Cape, and signed lease agreements that benefited Trifecta Investment Holdings.
Motshekga's spokesman Moloto Mothapo said the ethics committee had dealt with Botha's matter, but that it had not recommended her suspension.
“The matter was addressed in the House. Parliament operates in terms of the Constitution... and the Constitution outlines that a member can lose his or her seat if found guilty, and sentenced to at least three years without an option of a fine.”
The matter was also before the courts, and there is no legal basis for the call to suspend or remove Botha from Parliament, said Mothapo. - Sapa