MPs take dim view of Deputy Communications Minister's no-show

Lawmakers are discussing the state of the Media Development and Diversity Agency, an entity which supports community media in South Africa.

Communications Deputy Minister Tandi Mahambehlala. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN – Members of Parliament (MPs) have taken a dim view of the Deputy Communications Minister’s no show in Parliament today.

Parliament’s Communications Portfolio Committee was surprised to hear that Tandi Mahambehlala had taken study leave today even though she was expected to attend their meeting about a state-owned entity under her department’s supervision.

Lawmakers are discussing the state of the Media Development and Diversity Agency, an entity which supports community media in South Africa.

MPs received an apology from Communications Minister Ayanada Dlodlo, who is booked off sick for most of the week, but they had not received an official note from Mahambehlala’s office about her absence.

When it came to Chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana's attention that Mahambehlala was on study leave, MPs responded angrily.

“The report is that the Deputy Minister is on study leave. Up to when ... I don’t know because we must know up to when.”

ANC MP Mziwamadoda Kalako proposed they ask for a written explanation.

“She must answer your question in writing.”

But EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi suggested they take their complaints to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office.

“My view is that we write to the leader of government business.”

Parliamentarians say they have barely seen Mahambehlala since she was appointed to the portfolio during a Cabinet reshuffle in March.