By Mark Steele, MPL, Chief Whip to the DA in the KZN Legislature:
THE DA is alarmed by recent attempts by the ANC within the KZN Legislature to muzzle opposition members and exclude media from certain parts of portfolio committees.
We have noted three such incidents during the past week alone;
During a KZN Education portfolio committee, the DA’s Mbali Ntuli attempted to raise the allegations about posts being sold by SADTU, as well as the teacher union’s influence over officials and members of the ANC in this province.
This led to the chairperson and ANC committee members shielding officials and preventing the DA from asking its questions.
The SADTU allegations have been circulating for over a year – that it is has taken so long for the provincial leadership to prioritize possible corruption in the biggest and most important department in this province is unforgivable.
During a meeting of the KZN health portfolio this week – attended by members of the media – ANC committee members obstructed the DA from holding the MEC to account over a report on departmental performance during the last quarter of 2014. The DA was also fobbed off on the matter of the Northdale hospital management crisis.
The third incident took place during a Transport portfolio committee where the media were asked to leave before the chairperson made the embarrassing announcement that a multi-million rand Commission of Enquiry had been ‘lost’ in the Speaker’s Office.
The actions of ANC members on these committees’ signals direct obstruction on issues of oversight by the DA.
As KZN’s official opposition we strongly condemn such oppression.
The DA will not be muzzled. We will continue to fight for accountability and openness on all matters we deal with in the province’s Legislature in the interest of building a fair society with maximum freedom and opportunity for all.