Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Cape Town - The DA has hit back at Parliament’s committee chairpersons after the party was accused of deliberately hampering the work of the House by being absent from meetings or walking out when MPs have to vote on bills before them.

On Thursday, chairperson of the Select Committee on Security and Justice Simphiwe Mthimunye said he was concerned by the behaviour of the DA when the committee had to adopt the Defence Amendment Bill.

However, DA MP George Michalakis, who sits on the committee, said the ANC MPs who did not attend meetings were to blame for the committee not quorating and “their bad bills” not being adopted.

“What the chairperson of the committee doesn’t say is two things.

“The first is that he is using Parliament and Parliament’s media office to drive his own political agenda. He is now all of a sudden fighting a political party through Parliament, and the taxpayers are paying for that.

“The second thing he is pointing out and he is not answering is why the ANC, as the government, was not there to pass their own bill.

“The reason why we were able as the opposition to break the quorum is because the ANC members were not at work,” said Michalakis.

The committee consists of 12 members, of which seven belong to the ANC and the rest to the opposition.

On Wednesday when the committee considered the bill, there were only four ANC MPs and two EFF MPs.

On Thursday, committee chairperson Mthimunye said: “The DA has used the opportunity to stall the adoption of legislation by walking out of the meeting when it came to the consideration of the bill.

“This severely affects service delivery to all South Africans. It is in poor taste. We will not always agree on matters, but it is important to put all South Africans first.”

He said the party behaved similarly on the Select Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings.

The DA said it could not vote with the opposition on the bill as it did not allow room for transparency.

Michalakis said they had had two options: to walk out of the meeting, or abstain from voting.

Political Bureau