KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Deputy Speaker Meshack Radebe has called on political parties to ensure that their members attend the legislature sittings.
This is after nearly a quarter of members of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) failed to attend today’s special sitting.
The absence was not only limited to MPLs, but stretched to members of the provincial executive committee (MECs) where only two members attended in Premier Willies Mchunu’s 11-member cabinet.
“We must have a caucus and discuss this matter of apologies, they are just getting too much,” said Radebe.
The absence of Speaker Lydia Johnson prompted Radebe to preside over today’s sitting.
Only Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane and his Transport counterpart Mxolisi Kaunda represented the cabinet at the sitting.
Some MPLs were said to be in Botswana on an official visit while MECs and Mchunu were attending to official functions.
Opposition parties blamed the African National Congress (ANC) for the low attendance, pointing out that it was mainly members of the ruling party that were absent from the sitting.
Democratic Alliance MPL Francois Rodgers said it was equally shameful that only two MECs attended the sitting.
“It was pathetic really to see only two cabinet members at the sitting, we only had one member who was absent,” he said.
Speaking to ANA on Thursday evening, ANC whip Siboniso Duma brushed aside the outcry from opposition members, stressing that MECs had official engagements to honour.
He also dismissed suggestions that Radebe had singled out the ANC about absenteeism.
“He was making a general observation about the level of absence over the past sittings and the truth is all parties have had members absent at one point or the other,” said Duma.
The sitting initially was meant for next week but was moved to Thursday in order to make amendments to the Public Service Amendment Bill.
– African News Agency (ANA)