As attention shifts from State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Parliament’s reconfigured Portfolio Committees, which will converge next week, questions are being asked about the capacity and the credibility of these crucial Committees in carrying out their jobs efficiently and effectively.
At the centre of the on-going debates are a number of corrupt-tainted chairs of the Committees who have been the subject of State Capture at the Zondo Commission and elsewhere.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committees are at the coalface of drafting legislation aimed at improving the lives of the people. Traditionally, they’ve been chaired by senior and outstanding members of the ruling party.
However, for the sixth parliament, concerns have been raised about the calibre of some who have been nominated to chair some crucial Committees. Among them is Mosebenzi Zwane from the Portfolio Committee on Transport. He’s been linked to the scandal of the Vrede Dairy farm and the looting of Eskom.
Faith Muthambi, who’s been nominated to chair the Portfolio Committee on COGTA, has been linked with maladministration at the public broadcaster and sharing confidential cabinet minutes with the notorious Gupta family.
Civil society groups and political analysts have raised concerns about such nominations. They say such nominations will severely compromise these crucial parliamentary Committees and possibly put a spanner in the works on the effectiveness of government to deliver much-needed services to the people.
Others who have been nominated that have also been linked to one scandal or the other; include Tina Petterson-Joemat, Bongani Bongo and Supra Mahumapelo.
The committees will begin their judiciary duties on 2 July where these chairs will either be officially appointed or disappointed.