ANC Chief Whip must go and read the rules – Watty Watson

DA MP rejects over-top-response to concern over the non-scheduling of questions for President Zuma

ANC Chief Whip must go back and read the rules

In his over-the-top response to the DA’s legitimate concern about the non-scheduling of questions to President Zuma, the ANC’s Chief Whip revealed his own ignorance of parliamentary rules.

I am well aware of the fact that the National Assembly’s draft weekly programme is adopted each week by the National Assembly Programming Committee, hence my stated intent to raise the matter at its next meeting.

But the concern remains as to why ‘Questions to the President’ were not already given at least one provisional slot on the draft programme for the first term, as rule 111 states: “Questions to the President must be scheduled for a question day at least once per term”.

If no such slot is catered for in the draft schedule in accordance with the rules, the DA has an obligation to point this out.

After all, this is not the first time that the President has not fulfilled his duty to appear before Parliament in a term. In 2011, he managed to avoid answering questions for a period of six months.

The DA has a constitutional obligation to monitor President Zuma’s accountability to Parliament and raise its concerns. We cannot accept a parliamentary schedule that favours ceremonial events over the real business of scrutinising and overseeing the work of government.

Statement issued by Watty Watson MP, Democratic Alliance Chief Whip, January 23 2013



Zuma will answer to MPs: Parliament

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma will be called to answer questions in the National Assembly (NA), Parliament said in a statement on Tuesday.

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