It criticised the Democratic Alliance for making public the NA’s provisional programme and for claiming President Jacob Zuma would escape scrutiny by not appearing before MPs to answer questions.
“It is regrettable that a draft programme, an internal working document of the National Assembly (NA), issued for consideration by the NA Programme Committee, was misconstrued as the final programme,” it said.
Parliament said the programme was subject to changes and would be finalised only following a meeting of the multi-party programming committee.
“There is no reason to assume that the draft programme is the final programme for the first quarter of 2013,” it said.
“Nor is there any reason to presume that because dates have not yet been fixed for when the president and deputy president will answer questions in the NA and NCOP (National Council of Provinces), that these occasions for oversight will not be available.”
Parliament said the questioning of the president, his deputy, and the executive was a critical responsibility of Parliament and had been “scheduled without fail” since 1994.
ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga took aim at DA Chief Whip Watty Watson for his “legendary ignorance of parliamentary processes and procedures”.
Motshekga’s spokesman Moloto Mothapo said the draft parliamentary programme would become official only once adopted by the programming committee, following its first meeting of the year.
“Until such time, Mr Watson will do well to desist from making a spectacle of himself by publicly fretting over things without first establishing facts,” said Mothapo.
In his statement on Sunday, Watson claimed parliamentary rules were being abused to protect the president from being held accountable. – Sapa