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Lindiwe Sisulu’s failure to appear before committee meetings could land her in hot water

Lindiwe Sisulu’s failure to appear before committee meetings could land her in hot water

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Durban – Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu’s failure to appear before the tourism portfolio committee could land her in trouble with Parliament.

According to a report from the committee’s latest meeting, the committee could not proceed with its agenda of discussing a range of matters including the department’s performance reports for the first and second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year and the introduction of the new board of South African Tourism, because Sisulu was not in attendance.

“This was the third consecutive meeting where the minister was absent. While the department officials were present, Members were adamant that there are many issues that require responses from the political head. As a result, the officials were requested to leave and members commented about the fruitless expenditure,” the report read.

The committee also discussed Sisulu’s non-compliance with its summons after its previous requests for Sisulu to attend were ignored. Sisulu had also not issued an apology but sent senior counsel, who was not allowed to participate and was asked to leave.

According to the report: ‘The Parliamentary Legal Advisor informed the Committee that summoning anybody to come before Parliament is an extraordinary action. It is not something that Parliament does often, hence the Speaker is sought for concurrence to ensure that the Committee has taken all reasonable steps to secure voluntary participation before issuing the summons. It was the first time that somebody had not honoured the summons.

“Failure to honour the issued summons constitutes criminality and could land the Minister in prison for 12 months or be fined or both. The Committee was empowered to do so by the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act. The caveat is if a person had been duly summoned but failed to appear because of sufficient cause.

“To hold a position as a minister is an honour and she should take up her responsibilities seriously – serving South Africans should not be a secondary after-thought,” said DA MP, Manny de Freitas.

He said if the minister is not willing to act in the responsibility as minister, she must resign.

Sisulu confirmed that she had been summoned to attend this week’s portfolio meeting.

She said she viewed the current developments as unfortunate and unnecessary.

“In response to the Portfolio Committee’s decision to invoke a legal route, have taken legal advice and am challenging the committee’s decision to issue summons and the subsequent processes relating thereto,” she said in a statement.

Sisulu said she is unable to respond to any issue related to the summons as the matter is sub judice.

She said she will in future appear before the committee at a suitable time to both parties to assist the Tourism Portfolio Committee to fulfil its mandate.


Original Article

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