National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise is considering requests from the DA and EFF to hold the executive accountable for alleged corruption relating to Covid-19 relief measures.
In a statement released on Monday, the first day of a two-week constituency period, Parliament’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said Modise had received a request from DA interim leader John Steenhuisen for a debate of urgent national public importance on corruption related to Covid-19 tenders.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will also be appearing to provide answers about how he will act on the allegations.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu has requested an ad hoc committee be formed to investigate alleged corruption committed during the procurement of protective personal equipment, food parcels and other Covid-19-related expenses.
“The speaker is considering the two requests and will revert to the DA and EFF in due course,” read the statement.
Ad hoc committee
The EFF said it had “witnessed with disdain” this “rampant corruption”.
“Parliament has in the past been chastised for not doing anything about state capture, and as the EFF, we refuse to be part of an impotent Parliament that is not proactive in fighting what is now a pandemic of corruption,” read the party’s statement.
It said it had written to Modise to table an urgent motion to establish an ad hoc committee that would summon public officials and representatives to report “all corruption and wrong-doing”.
The EFF added a member of the opposition should chair this committee, which should have six ANC MPs, two from the DA, one from the EFF, and three from other parties.
Early in the lockdown, the DA also wrote to Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, asking for the establishment of an ad hoc committee on Covid-19. This was turned down, with Tsenoli calling the request “so broad and of such a nature that it would not be feasible to expect a single ad hoc committee to perform”.
However on Saturday, Steenhuisen, in a statement, said he would write to Modise to request a snap debate in which Ramaphosa himself must answer questions.
“Even though it was entirely predictable, the feeding frenzy over Covid-19-related tenders among ANC-connected individuals is a filthy stain on our country in this time of crisis.”
He added that South Africa would not make progress as long as corruption continued to infect every aspect of government service delivery.
“We will not make progress as long as we have a president who can only talk, but is incapable of any meaningful action,” said Steenhuisen.
“However, he now has an opportunity to prove me wrong. I look forward to the president’s honest account in Parliament of his party’s looting, and his detailed plan of action to deal with all those involved.”