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Political parties raise Scopa ‘big brother’ fears

House chairperson, Cedric Frolick. Picture: Tracey Adams/ African News Agency (ANA)

House chairperson, Cedric Frolick. Picture: Tracey Adams/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 24, 2023


Cape Town - Concerns were raised about the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) playing “big brother” to other portfolio committees tasked to monitor the implementation of the Zondo Commission’s recommendations.

This emerged at the programme committee on Thursday when chief whips of political parties heard that items arising from the Zondo Commission were referred to the several committees for their consideration.

The committees are expected to report quarterly on the work they have done to the House chairperson, Cedric Frolick.

Mbatha said since the year was before the 2024 elections, all work that wasn’t finalised would be carried in the legacy reports and committees of the next Parliament would continue with unfinished work.

However, the DA’s Siviwe Gwarube said her party’s members serving on Scopa were concerned over whether or not the referral to their committee indicated that they would look at progress made by other committees.

She wanted to know whether each committee would do its work in terms of processing the recommendations and report directly to Frolick, who would then present a consolidated report to the rules committee or the programme committee.

EFF MP Ntombovuyo Mente said the manner in which the recommendations of the Zondo Commission were referred to the committee was problematic.

“Scopa is going to be a big brother of other committees. The guidelines as in terms of the briefing letter from the chair of chairs and department of Parliament dealing with this are very worrisome,” Mente said.

She said Scopa was a committee of Parliament with members paid similar amounts as other MPs.

“It is not playing a supervisory role. That has to be looked into.”

Mente said the parliamentary role on the Zondo Commission report ought to be straightforward on what matters were to be followed.

She said that Scopa was a public account committee.

“As things stand it has a lot of work but it can’t be forced by Parliament to play a supervisory role over other committees. That is not the role of Scopa,” Mente said.

Frolick said he heard the concerns raised by Gwarube and Mente for the first time.

He said he would meet with Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa to discuss other issues.

“I will interact with him on the matter to get the take of the committee on the matter because that is our line of communication with the chairperson of the committee.’

Frolick also said the reports from the committees were public documents that could be reported in the official parliamentary report.

He stated it was the prerogative of the presiding officers to see how they fit in the agenda of the rules and joint rules committees.

Cape Times