Anthony Benadie MPLProvincial Leader – Mpumalanga
ANC uses its majority to protect MEC from oversight
The ANC yesterday, used its majority in the Economic Development, Environment and Tourism Committee to prevent MEC Norman Mokoena from being subjected to oversight. This follows a concerted effort by the DA to question MEC Mokoena on his decision to appoint Mr Jerry Ngomane and Ms Clara Ndlovu as chairperson and deputy chairperson of the board of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA).
This portfolio committee has the mandate to conduct oversight over the executive, its department and parastatals. In doing so, the DA requested MEC Mokoena to provide the committee with résumés of all board members to assess their suitability for the posts to which they have been appointed. While MEC Mokoena indicated that the request for the CVs of board members rested with the committee, he was unwilling to provide it to the DA “…to be misused for a political agenda”.
In a shocking display of ANC MPLs protecting the MEC, the ANC used its majority to refuse the DA request for the CVs of board members, with ANC MPL JL Mahlangu stating that their skill, qualification and expertise was “irrelevant” as the board did not “run the entity” and “only met four times a year”.
Mahlangu’s logic, begs the question: Why have a board, if their role is as irrelevant as he proclaims.
The DA, as a member of the committee and as part of our oversight role, is particularly concerned that MEC Mokoena did not follow the correct procedure in constituting the board, and furthermore exercised poor judgement in his choice of candidates.
Furthermore it would appear that in appointing the MTPA board, MEC Mokoena violated significant clauses of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Act.
Section 6(d) of the MTPA Act of 2005, states that candidates eligible to serve on the board, must, among others, have
“sufficient knowledge of, or experience in tourism or conservation management of natural resources.”
With this legal provision, the DA wishes to ascertain whether the board members, especially the chairperson and his deputy, comply with this legislative requirement. If they do, the DA fails to understand the secrecy surrounding their CVs and appointment, which on the contrary can only imply that they don’t, and that this shortcoming is what is being hidden.
Furthermore, Section 7(2) of the MTPA Act states that the MEC,
“Shall invite, through public invitation, applications for appointment as Member of the Board, within 21 days of the publication of the said advertisement”. The DA will seek evidence of any advertisements placed for board appointments, and challenges MEC Mokoena to not only provide proof of advertising the positions, but also to provide us with a list of applicants (along with their CVs), when the interviews were conducted, and the reasons for their elimination from the interview process. The MEC’s judgement must be subject to oversight.
The DA is absolutely convinced that the ANC uses appointments to the boards of agencies such as the MTPA purely to spread political favour, and not to fulfil any sort of mandate.
The MTPA is embroiled in crisis, and the appointment of a competent board is critical to its success. Now is not the time for the MTPA board to become an extension of MEC Mokoena’s political clique, and the DA will persist in questioning the process of appointment and the MEC’s choice of candidates, to ensure that the interest of the MTPA and conservation and tourism is best served.
To this end, the DA will now submit written questions to the MEC, requesting evidence that every provision of the MTPA Act has been complied with.