Parliament committee staff get a tongue lashing for failing to provide supporting documents
The support staff for one of the parliamentary committees received a tongue lashing for failing to provide supporting documents to MPs ahead of a meeting on Friday.
The powers and privileges committee was meant to consider two complaints lodged with National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, in addition to adopting a report approving sanctions against EFF MPs.
One complaint was made by former Brand SA CEO Kingsley Makhubela against board chairperson Thandi Tobias for allegedly misleading Parliament in a meeting with the public service and administration portfolio committee on March 10.
The other came from DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone in connection with an incident involving her colleague, Phumzile van Damme, and EFF MP Nazier Paulsen.
The committee could not consider the complaints because documentation was not sent to the committee members.
Committee chairperson Philly Mapulane was not pleased with the turn of events and lashed out at the committee secretariat.
Mapulane said when referrals were made to the committee, documents ought to be distributed to the members.
“How are members to engage in an issue if they have not received any documentation,” he said, adding that he was under the impression that the documentation on Makhubela’s complaint had been distributed all along.
He decried that they were forced to postpone the matter when they should have gotten into the issue.
The committee had received a verbal presentation on the matter from the legal services unit.
“Now we have to postpone because members have not received documents, which is very, very unfair. This is a committee we serve in addition to others. We are already stretched,” said Mapulane.
He said they did not have the luxury of postponing any of the meetings.
“That is very unacceptable. I am to request the secretariat to please pull up your socks because this is just not on. It is definitely not on to postpone because documents are not circulated,” he said.
When it was time for the Mazzone’s complaint to be considered, it emerged again that documents were not sent.
“I really don’t understand. How do you expect members to decide when there are no documents?” Mapulane asked.
When an official tried to explain the mishap due to lack of communication with his office, the chairperson said the secretariat ought to get the necessary documents distributed.
Mapulane apologised to MPs for the poor preparations for the meeting.
“We really have to terminate the meeting at this point. We apologise to the members that we could not circulate to you all the documentation in time,” he said.
He added that they would determine a date for the next meeting and ensure the necessary preparations were done.