Nkoana-Mashabane’s absence from Parly to be referred to Mbete & Ramaphosa

Nkoana-Mashabane was to have faced a number of questions relating to her controversial decision to grant Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane’s absence from Parliament on Thursday is to be referred to the speaker and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Nkoana-Mashabane was to have faced a number of questions relating to her controversial decision to grant Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe diplomatic immunity after she allegedly assaulted a young woman in a Sandton hotel last month.

It’s emerged that Ramaphosa wrote asking Nkoana-Mashabane to attend this ministerial question-time, but she went ahead with an official visit to Vietnam.

State Security Minister David Mahlobo was tasked to answer questions on her behalf.

Nkoana-Mashabane's absence has been slammed.

Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen referred to her track record in Parliament.

“The Minister of International Relations has not appeared in the House since March last year. She missed two oral question sessions in 2016, these dates were provided to the minister at the beginning of the year and we find it unacceptable that she’s not here.”

He was backed by the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Narend Singh who said: “We were assured yesterday in the chief whip's forum that the leader of government business the honourable deputy president of this country did indeed write to the minister asking her to be here today.”

Members of Parliament (MPs) were further angered by the absence of both deputy ministers of international relations and cooperation.

House chairperson Cedric Frolick says the matter will now be referred to speaker Baleka Mbete and Ramaphosa.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)