Editorials 9.6.2018 08:50 am

MPs’ cancelled soccer ‘jol’ was indeed suspect

People pose for pictures in front of a 2018 FIFA World Cup decoration at Moscow's Zaryadye Park outside the Kremlin on June 7, 2018. Picture: AFP PHOTO

People pose for pictures in front of a 2018 FIFA World Cup decoration at Moscow's Zaryadye Park outside the Kremlin on June 7, 2018. Picture: AFP PHOTO

What good was it going to do sending parliamentarians – most of whom have no experience in the real world, never mind in teaching – to do the survey on our behalf?

Some MPs are irritated after a nice “jolly”, a planned visit for them to Moscow – only coincidentally around the time of the start of the World Cup football tournament – was called off.

Belinda Bozzoli, the DA MP who tweeted about the cancellation of the trip, was miffed that people believed the trip had anything to do with the soccer.

“We would have gone to Russia and returned before the World Cup, so it is absolute nonsense that people implied that we were going there for the World Cup,” an angry Bozzoli posted on the social media platform.

Really?

The parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education and training – of which Bozzoli is a member – was to have left yesterday for a week in Russia … and returned a day after the tournament start day.

Whether you like it or not, Ms Bozzoli, the public is not out of order in questioning the timing of the trip.

Nor, either, are questions about why it was planned in the first place inappropriate. What was a group of South African parliamentarians going to learn about tertiary education from a trip to Russia?

We are not saying there are not things that this country can learn from Russia, because we do not subscribe to the unthinking, wall-to-wall demonisation of that country by the Western media.

But, what good was it going to do sending parliamentarians – most of whom have no experience in the real world, never mind in teaching – to do the survey on our behalf? Why could we not have sent experts and then discussed their learnings and recommendations via policy debates?

Parliament is there to improve the lives of South Africans, not the lives of MPs. We are happy to see that this jaunt has been called off … and hope that similar wastes of money are also vetoed.

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