FS MECs refuse to answer written parliamentary questions

By David van Vuuren, DA Chief Whip in the Free State Provincial Legislature:

The below member statement was delivered by David van Vuuren (MPL) during a sitting of the Free State Provincial Legislature on Thursday 30 July 2015.

I would like to remind all MECs here today that Rule 60 states that all written questions published in the question paper must be replied to within 10 working days. Unfortunately, MECs are neglecting their duty to account to this legislature and the people of the Free State. We have noticed how MECs are ignoring written questions submitted to them.

Honourable Speaker,

We should raise this matter with the Leader of Government Business, the MEC for Education, the honourable Tate Makgoe, but he himself is the biggest culprit. MEC Makgoe has refused to answer a single question this year. He owes this legislature and the people 14 replies.

MEC Olly Mlamleli follows close on the heels of her colleague MEC Makgoe, she also has been neglecting to reply to 14 written questions, she takes the second spot only because she has actually responded to some questions this year. MEC Mlamleli should spend less time commenting on the DA’s Facebook page and rather use her time to account to the people. Third place goes to Health MEC Benny Malakoane. He has not bothered to reply to 13 questions.

This legislature can’t place all written questions on the order paper for oral reply because there are far too many outstanding questions and too few plenaries left for this year. In total there are 65 outstanding questions excluding the 15 submitted yesterday.

The DA ask questions because the ANC in government tries everything in its power to hide uncomfortable truths. We are not surprised that MECs are refusing to answer questions, but we will not allow this wilful undermining of the democratic principles of transparency and accountability to go unchecked.

Honourable Speaker,

I would once again like to remind MECs that they are accountable to this Legislature and not the other way around and I strongly urge MECs to answer these outstanding questions immediately, not for our convenience, but because it is a constitutional obligation, one that Free State MECs are undermining.

Honourable Speaker,

We would like to request you to inform us what steps you will take to address the blatant breach of the Standing Rules and Orders and how the Executive continues to ignore your rulings in this House.