News24 Wire
3 minute read
18 Aug 2020
7:44 pm

Mabuza ‘too sick’ to answer questions in Parliament

News24 Wire

Earlier this month, reports emerged of Mabuza's ill health, but his office moved speedily to refute claims clarifying he was well and resting at home.

Deputy President David Mabuza. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng / African News Agency (ANA)

On Monday, Mabuza consulted with his physician and then wrote to Parliament saying he would be unable to attend the question and answer session scheduled for this week.

His office insisted that while Mabuza was not bedridden or suffering from ill-health, he was acting on advice from his doctor.

This was the second time in three months Mabuza had cancelled a parliamentary engagement because of ill health.

DA MP Solly Malatsi called on the surgeon-general, Lieutenant-General Zola Dabula, to urgently provide clarity on the state of Mabuza’s health.

Mabuza was due in the National Assembly on Thursday to answer oral questions from MPs.

Malatsi said Mabuza was also meant to respond to DA MP Siviwe Gwarube question on the status of Covid-19 corruption investigations.

“Deputy President Mabuza’s office has sent an excuse to Parliament, once again stating his ill health as the reason for non-attendance. The session on Thursday is essential in ensuring the executive is held to account, and as Leader of Government Business in Parliament, the deputy president must avail himself to give account of the brazen Covid-19 corruption of his party, the ANC, and government,” Malatsi said.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said: “The deputy president has written to the Speaker (Thandi Modise) informing her that his medical team has extended his time off, and is thus unable to attend to the scheduled parliamentary obligations. He remains committed to avail himself at an alternative date to be agreed by both Parliament and his office.”

In July, Mabuza cancelled a parliamentary question and answer session in the National Council of Provinces and National Assembly.

Earlier this month, reports emerged of Mabuza’s ill health, but his office moved speedily to refute claims clarifying he was well and resting at home.

News24 earlier reported that Mabuza’s low profile during the lockdown had raised eyebrows, to the extent that opposition MPs had enquired about his whereabouts during a meeting of the National Assembly programming committee in May.

His last reported official engagement was on 16 July where he convened a virtual meeting of the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) inter-ministerial committee.

Malatsi said clarity on Mabuza’s health was imperative.

“This is especially important as it is not the first time the deputy president has used ill health as an excuse to miss parliamentary question sessions. Earlier this year, he missed meetings of the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly due to ill health. Yet, whenever his office is questioned on the matter, the standard response is that there is nothing wrong with the deputy president’s health,” he said.

“So, where is DD Mabuza? He is either seriously ill, and his office is trying to hide that fact, or there is nothing wrong with him and he is simply trying to avoid accountability by claiming ill health whenever he is called to Parliament. South Africans deserve an explanation,” Malatsi said.

Mabuza’s spokesperson Matshepo Seedat said the DA was within its rights to raise its concerns within parliamentary rules and processes. “The deputy president has duly written to the Speaker on this matter.”

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