South Africa 30.4.2015 03:15 pm

DA urges separate portfolio committee for Chapter 9 institutions

FILE PICTURE: Glynnis Breytenbach Credit: Tracy Lee Stark.

FILE PICTURE: Glynnis Breytenbach Credit: Tracy Lee Stark.

The Democratic Alliance on Thursday called for Parliament to set up a portfolio committee dedicated to Chapter 9 institutions and initiate law amendments to shift their source of funding from the executive to the legislature as a firewall against political meddling.

The call by DA MP Glynis Breytenbach, the DA’s spokeswoman for justice, comes after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was berated by the ANC majority on the portfolio committee on justice on Wednesday when she delivered a presentation asking for a significant budget increase.

The DA are preparing to bring a motion of no confidence in the chairman, Mathole Motshekga.

“In addition … the DA calls for Parliament’s Rules Committee to establish a Standing Committee on Chapter 9 institutions and institutions supporting constitutional democracy, so that these institutions can be funded directly by Parliament and not by a politically expedient executive, as is currently the case. If the ANC then wishes to deny the Public Protector funding, they can do so in full view of the opposition and the public,” Breytenbach said.

Breytenbach said getting Parliament to fund the Public Protector and similar institutions would require changes to several pieces of governing legislation — including a constitutional amendment.

She accused Motshekga and other ANC members of the committee of lacking the political will to address the cash constraints faced by Madonsela’s office.

“In yesterday’s sitting of the committee he abused his power as the chair and frustrated the ventilation of critical issues about the budgetary constraints of the Public Protector.

“The Public Protector indicated that her office would need at least R200 million more per year to capacitate her office. The ANC in Parliament refused to entertain this request and chose to hurl personal attacks.”

Relations between the committee and Madonsela have been strained for some time, but hostility appears to have increased since Motshekga took over as chair after the 2014 national elections. He also chaired the ad hoc committee that disagreed with her report which held that President Jacob Zuma had been personally enriched by the R246 million state-funded upgrade to his home in Nkandla

On Wednesday, Motskega charged that Madonsela had in her briefing failed to demonstrate that she had addressed past finance management issues in her office and would be able to handle a bigger budget. He ordered her to come back better prepared next week.

She replied that she had the information at her fingertips, and was given time to respond to the issues raised after opposition parties objected to Motshekga’s reading and proposal for a follow-up meeting. They said an additional briefing would amount to a waste of tax payer’s money.

 

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