Mbete complains to Mabuza about absent ministers during question sessions

Members of Parliament (MPs) have repeatedly slammed ministers for failing to attend oral reply sessions, or sending their deputies, saying they are not accounting properly to Parliament.

FILE: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: AFP

Editor's note: This article has been amended to reflect that International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu did submit a letter of apology to the National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete for being absent from the Q&A session in Parliament.

CAPE TOWN – National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says she’s written to deputy President David Mabuza complaining about the absence of ministers during question time in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Mabuza was this week appointed Leader of Government Business in Parliament by President Cyril Ramaphosa. His job is to manage relations between the executive and the national legislature.

Members of Parliament (MPs) have repeatedly slammed ministers for failing to attend oral reply sessions, or sending their deputies, saying they are not accounting properly to Parliament.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba sent an unsigned doctor’s note to explain his absence Wednesday.

Speaker Baleka Mbete says she’s already taken action.

“Before I left the office last night I sent off a letter, raising very strongly the concerns of the National Assembly with the events of yesterday and the not showing up off ministers and as a general complaint the question of non-attendance by members of the executive.”

Questions to Gigaba, in which the naturalisation of Gupta family members would have loomed large, have been held over.

Although Speaker Baleka Mbete told the House on Wednesday 7 March that she had received no request for absence from International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the minister's office has informed EWN that she did indeed submit a letter of apology to the Speaker's Office, which was acknowledged. Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers answered questions in the National Assembly on behalf of Minister Sisulu.