Yesterday afternoon, during a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, I was thrown out after noting that Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane had been hiding from accountability for the past year.
The rarely-seen Minister was presenting herself to the committee for the first time since March 2016, and after failing to answer oral questions in Parliament since 2014.
Instead of taking Nkoana-Mashabane to task for her chronic absenteeism, the committee chairperson, Moses Masango, chose to shield her from accountability by ejecting me for pointing it out. In doing so, Nkoana-Mashabane was not asked to account for a host of issues identified in her department’s annual report, including:
- Irregular expenditure amounting to more than R785 million;
- Fruitless and wasteful expenditure of over R10 million this year;
- The lack of disciplinary action taken against officials who had incurred and/or permitted irregular expenditure, as required by the PFMA; and
- The Auditor-General’s determination that the Department did not hold performance management and reporting staff accountable for findings raised during the internal and external audit processes.
This is not the first time that an ANC chairperson has tried to intimidate DA MPs in an effort to shield errant members of the Executive. The DA will not allow this incident to deter us from holding dodging Ministers to account.