DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Following Wednesday’s announcement of the chairperson of parliament’s portfolio committees, the Democratic Alliance says it will consider putting forward alternative candidates to head up portfolio committees “to fight this attempt at once again capturing Parliament”.

The DA’s Chief Whip in the National Assembly John Steenhuisen says that the appointment of former ministers such as Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, Bongani Bongo and former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo was shocking and a complete disregard for South Africans.

Muthambi was appointed chairperson of the portfolio committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs while Bongo will chair the portfolio committee on Home Affairs.  

“Supra Mahumapelo, a Gupta acolyte who was basically chased out of the North West province has now been slated for the Tourism committee. Faith Muthambi, who helped run the SABC into the ground is now about to be put in charge of oversight over municipalities.

“Other strong Zupta allies alleged to have played instrumental roles in the capturing of the State, such as Mosebenzi Zwane and Bongani Bongo, are now in prime position to help capture Parliament,” Steenhuisen said.

He said that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s attempts of forging a New Dawn were now being hampered by the “ANC’s factional fault lines” which pitted Ramaphosa on one side and ANC secretary general Ace Magashule on the other.

“The DA will therefore carefully consider putting forward alternative candidates to head up portfolio committees, in order to fight this attempt at once again capturing Parliament,” says Steenhuisen.

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) says that it is deeply concerned about “the prospective deployment of several individuals with dubious backgrounds” into key positions in Parliament adding that poor committee chairperson choices could hamstring the sixth Parliament.

Matt Johnston, OUTA’s Parliamentary Engagement Manager, said: “We are deeply concerned that many on this list have a poor track record and have serious, unresolved allegations of corruption against them.”  

“For example, OUTA has laid charges of treason against Muthambi for sharing three confidential Cabinet memoranda with the Guptas, and against Zwane for his involvement in the Vrede dairy project, yet both have been appointed to critical positions.”

Narend Singh, IFP Chief Whip in Parliament, said that they had noted the inclusion of certain former ministers who “had previously had challenges” but that it was the prerogative of the ANC as the majority party to choose whoever they wanted to head up portfolio committees.

“Our members will serve on those committees and we will be monitoring very carefully their impartiality. We will call them to order if they are out of order in terms of ensuring that every member has a right to say they what they want to say and ensuring that all departments that appear before these particularly committees are carefully interrogated,” Singh says.

He says that there was no way that committees could capture Parliament because it would be left to other members that serve on the committees to be wide awake, vigilant and ask pertinent questions.

Political Bureau