2017-05-02 13:25

Bathabile Dlamini (File, Rapport)

Bathabile Dlamini (File, Rapport)

Cape Town – Parliament’s select committee on social services had to cancel its meeting on the department of social development’s upcoming budget vote after both the minister and deputy minister failed to attend.

Committee chairperson Landulile Dlamini expressed her dissatisfaction that Minister Bathabile Dlamini and her deputy skipped yet another meeting with NCOP MPs on Tuesday, which was also meant to discuss its annual plan.

“When this saga was in the news, we said we would wait until this meeting to raise them,” she said speaking on the social grants debacle.

“The issues we want to raise, we have to have a minister and deputy minister [present].”

She said Dlamini and deputy minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu had only appeared once before the select committee in three years.

“We are different [to portfolio committees].

“We call you twice, maybe four times a year. If they don’t attend, we don’t know what is happening,” she told those department officials who were present.

Formal notice of excuse needed

Parliament’s liaison officer said Minister Dlamini informed the committee on Tuesday morning that she had to attend another meeting in Pretoria.

Chairperson Dlamini said the only meeting that takes precedence is one with the President, and that the committee needs a further explanation.

Acting Director General Nelisiwe Vilakazi told the committee after a short recess that Bogopane-Zulu had told her she was at the doctor and was unwell.

MPs were seen laughing at the excuse.

“We’ve heard that before,” some were heard saying.

Chairperson Dlamini said there needed to be a formal notice of excuse, as the select committee’s meeting had been set down months in advance.

She said they will set aside another day out of schedule to ensure the minister or deputy minister can present the department’s annual plan to the committee.

She told the department to take the message back to Minister Dlamini that they won’t proceed until she attends.