DA Leader in Mpumalanga
How many Members of a Provincial Legislature (MPLs) does it take to hold a provincial government accountable? In the case of Mpumalanga, the answer is two – of the Democratic Alliance. This becomes clear when one evaluates the amount of written parliamentary questions submitted by both the DA and ANC, which form the basis of their oversight of the premier and the cabinet.
According to the Mpumalanga Legislature’s Rules and Orders, each MPL can ask up to three written questions of any MEC or the premier per sitting week of the Legislature or two oral questions for each quarterly question day, of both MECs and the premier.
During the 40 sitting weeks of the Legislature in 2011, the 15 ANC MPLs (excluding the Speaker, Premier and MECs) had the opportunity to submit 1 440 written, 240 oral to MECs and 120 oral questions to the premier. However, they only managed to submit three written questions the entire year – all by the same MPL, Mr Fish Mahlalela. This is in stark contrast with the DA, who submitted a total of 80 – despite not having nearly the same financial and human resources at our disposal.
In terms of questions for oral reply to both the premier and MECs, the DA managed to fill 81,25% of our quota, with the premier cancelling two question sessions.
It certainly appears that ANC MPLS have adopted a non-aggressive approach to the executive. Not only are they reluctant to submit written questions, but repeatedly rise to the defence of government underperformance during portfolio committee meetings.
The people of Mpumalanga can rest assured that the DA will continue representing their interests against all odds, even if we are the only two doing so.