Durban - The Democratic Alliance on Friday called on president Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a new leader of government business in Parliament given the prolonged ill health of deputy president, David Mabuza.
Mabuza cancelled Parliamentary question and answer sessions for July and August this year due to issues of health. The deputy president did say this week in a letter to Parliament, however, that he was not ill, but needed more rest on the authority of his doctor.
Mabuza was also absent from office for several months due to ill health when he was still Mpumalanga premier.
DA MP and shadow minister in the Presidency, Solly Malatsi, said that Mabuza's ill health was of great concern to the nation and was continuing to prevent parliament from holding government and the presidency to account, "especially during the National State of Disaster and in light of the Covid-19 corruption, it is important that someone be appointed to fulfil the role of leader of government business".
Thursday’s postponed oral questions session was the seventh time since September 19, 2019, that Mabuza had failed to answer questions in parliament.
"In 2019, he also missed sessions on 17 October, 21 November and 27 November. And this year he failed to give account to the National Council of Provinces on 24 July, and the National Assembly on 30 July and 20 August," said Malatsi.
He said that while the opposition would "never invalidate anyone's health", Mabuza's ill health "seems to perpetually hamper the execution of his duties in this regard and is derailing the work of parliament and potentially the work of government".
Ramaphosa needed to make an "urgent announcement" on the situation, he added, and surgeon general, lieutenant-general Zola Dabula, also needed to update the nation on the deputy president's health, but was not compelled to disclose details, as Mabuza had a right to privacy.
"Unfortunately, Deputy President Mabuza’s ability to perform his constitutional duties as Leader of Government Business is of national importance which makes the clarification of the status of his health by the Surgeon-General critical. More so given how the Deputy President’s office is handling the matter.
"The DA calls on the President to use the powers that he has to appoint a Leader of Government Business who will be able to come to account to Parliament and the South African public."
African News Agency