Parliament must assert itself to avoid embarrassment: Dube

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Parliament must learn to assert itself if it hopes to avoid further embarrassment. That’s according to the Centre for Constitutional Rights.

This after the Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Ben Martins and the board of Transnet both snubbed two parliamentary committees this week.

Parliament through the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Inquiry into Eskom, had hoped for some answers. Instead the Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises turned his nose at the inquiry’s invitation on Tuesday.

MPs had asked him to answer to allegations about his inappropriate relationship with the Gupta-family.

Scopa suffered the same fate on Wednesday when at the last minute the board of Transnet failed to show up to answer the committee’s concerns around financial mismanagement to the tune of R4 billion.

Director for Centre for Constitutional Rights Phephelaphi Dube says:”The fact that you find various individuals and various companies feeling that they are not obliged to appear before parliament is in essence contempt of parliament and it serves to undermine the constitutional order”

Dube now urged Parliament to step up to the plate and invoke powers that it already has through the powers, privileges and immunity Act.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says they view this week’s snubs in a serious light and that Speaker Baleka Mbete will decide on a course of action soon.

“We believe that what happened this week are isolated incidents and it’s a matter that the Speaker will apply her mind. She will get a report and then make a determination.”

Meanwhile, both Deputy Minister Martins and the Transnet Board will now be legally summoned by the respective committees to come to Parliament in the New Year.