The Democratic Alliance (DA) will submit follow-up parliamentary questions to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, regarding previous written and oral questions which sought the breakdown of the successful beneficiaries of the R1.3 billion Covid-19 support fund for agriculture.
Though the Minister glibly remarked when pressed that she would provide the DA with the answer to our parliamentary question “if we really wanted it”, we have yet to receive any information from her.
When do the Minister intend to provide the information? She must have access to it, as she so easily provided it to The Speaker of the National Assembly, The NCOP Chairperson, the Chairpersons of the Portfolio Committee and Select Committee without them even asking for it.
Should the Minister fail to provide the necessary information on 19 October 2020, 10 days after our submission of questions on 9 October as per the National Assembly Rules (Chapter 10, paragraph 117), the DA will submit a request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).
The DA previously wrote to the Chairperson of the Agricultural, Land Reform and Rural Development portfolio committee, Zwelivelile Mandela, to ask that this matter is placed on the agenda as a matter of urgency. This has not happened, and the Chairperson has not responded to the DA’s reasonable request in any way.
By ignoring the DA’s parliamentary question, originally submitted on 29 May 2020, in this manner, Minister Didiza shows her disdain for the working of Parliament. It definitely strengthens the suspicion that the Minister is trying to cover up corruption in this way. Who ended up benefitting from the R1.3 billion Covid-19 support fund for agriculture? The Minister’s actions make it seem like it might have been ANC officials and cronies.