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Parliament considers converting sickly DD Mabuza’s oral Q&A, to written replies

Phot Siphiwe Nyathi/ AENS

Phot Siphiwe Nyathi/ AENS

Published Aug 27, 2020

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Cape Town - Deputy President David Mabuza’s oral question and answer session in Parliament may be converted to written replies.

This emerged during the meeting of the National Assembly programme committee when the status of his replies was considered on Thursday.

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National Assembly Secretary Masibulele Xaso told the committee that there was an agreement in the chief whips’ forum that the House should receive written responses from Mabuza.

"And a motion to that effect will be processed by the House next week enabling the deputy president to submit responses in writing," Xaso said.

He, however, said there was a need to clarify whether the pending motion would speak to supplementary questions which are asked in a normal question and answer session.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina confirmed that the issue of Mabuza's responses was discussed on Wednesday by the chief whips forum.

"We were in agreement because the rules have no provision for written replies. Given the situation that we are in let’s have a motion in the House that will be a stop-gap measure in the meantime so that those questions are not overtaken by events," Majodina said.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said converting the oral to written questions was a better option until Mabuza was in good health to take questions.

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Modise said they needed to look into the aspect of the opportunity usually given to MPs for follow-up questions.

"The consideration is do we give space for follow-up questions based on the written responses... That is another area we must look at in how we deal with the converted questions. Do members forfeit the follow up questions?" she asked.

Last Thursday, Mabuza missed his oral question and answer session in the National Assembly on advice of his medical team.

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He had written in the week to Modise asking for postponement citing ill health.

It was the second time after he missed two other sessions in both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

When DA MP Jacques Julius raised the matter at the National Assembly programme last week, it sparked uproar with Mabuza's parliamentary counsellor Hope Papo saying he was not incapacitated.

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Julius said at the time questions to Mabuza had gone unanswered from his cancelled sessions and that there was some public outcry.

"It is a real concern as a colleague that we don't get proper explanation with the whereabouts of the deputy president but also what happens to these questions and his work as leader of government business," Julius said.

Papo had described Julius's statements as being "insensitive."

He said Mabuza had tendered an apology for the cancelled sessions and had been accepted by Modise, chief whips’ forum and programme committee.

"The deputy president is ready to come answer the questions but he can't defy his medical team. He talks and is walking about but that does not mean if his medical team says 'you must be off' we create an impression that the (deputy) president is in ICU," Papo said at the time.

Political Bureau

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