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Oral questions in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, due to take place at a Sitting on Thursday, have been removed from the Order Paper with the agreement of all political parties – except the DA – in a clear move of support for Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube’s attempt to escape accountability.
Until yesterday, the questions with notice to the Premier formed part of the Order Paper. This required parties to send their questions of provincial importance to her office with a notice period of 16 working days. The DA was compliant in terms of timeous submissions.
The DA intended to question the Premier about KZN’s ongoing political killings and her ANC-run governments plans to curb the scourge. We also intended to ask her about placing the embattled eThekwini municipality under administration.
Both issues are pressing and require direct, unambiguous, unbiased responses befitting the Office of the Premier. Yet, when I queried why the KZN Legislature Chief Whips office had sought consultation to have this question session deferred, I was told that the Premier's overseas travel has impacted on her availability.
This reasoning is absurd. In the Premiers absence - or if she was too tired from trotting the globe, or ill - the rules of the legislature allow her to designate a member of her cabinet to do this on her behalf. Certainly, the defacto or her "deputy premier" - and leader of government business - MEC Siboniso Duma could have taken charge of the session.
The Premier’s ducking and diving stands in stark contrast to operations within the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP), where there are weekly questions to the Premier without notice. This means that members of the WCPP can ask any question of provincial importance, weekly, without the Premier preparing in advance for what will come his way.
KZN’s Premier has neither asked a cabinet member to respond nor provided a reasonable reason for deferral. This suggests that she is trying to avoid stepping on toes in response to the DA’s questions due to a deeply divided ANC in the province, with increasing disdain for the Taliban-run faction within its ranks. The ongoing political killings are symptomatic of this strife. This, however, should not prevent the Premier from doing her job, without fear or favour.
The DA cannot speculate as to the reasons for other KZN political parties agreeing to the Premier’s latest move. They could range from not being able to come up with any questions, buying time to think of something or simply not caring enough to ask the hard questions. This is for them to explain.
The people of our province have the right to know what is being done about political violence. And they have the right to know what is being done about the collapse of our only Metro.
The DA has – and will – continue to raise critical issues through the whippery in a bid to ensure transparency. As KZN’s only effective opposition we remain committed to holding the province’s Taliban-run ANC government to account and to rescuing its citizens from a defunct governing party and its coalition partners such as the EFF.
Issued by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL - Chief Whip to the DA in the KZN Legislature