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Speech of the Chief Whip on the occasion of the 2017 Parliamentary Budget Vote (Vote 2) in the National Assembly

30 May 2017

Hon Speaker
Hon Deputy President
Hon Members of Parliament in particular the ANC Caucus

I am truly honoured to participate in this very important debate on the budget of parliament and I dedicate the speech to my Political Advisor and Chief of Staff, Comrade Tumisang Bojabotsheha who passed on last month after a short illness. Cde Tumisang was a humanist, a public servant par excellence whose love for his family, his people and his work cannot be questioned. He was also a distinguished cadre of our movement, a political commissar and a Marxist Leninist who dedicated his entire life to better the lives of all our people. Even during the most difficult time of his life when doctors had ordered him to take an indefinite leave from work, he came to work and continued to be a pillar of the office of the Chief Whip and the broader Caucus of the ANC in Parliament. We will miss you Cde Tumi, we will miss your dedication to the National Democratic revolution, robala ka kgotso.

Hon Deputy Speaker our democratic constitution has created a state that is constituted by three independent and inter-related complementary arms of the state, namely the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. These arms of the state are the legacies of our esteemed President OR Tambo. Today we debate and indeed we commend to this house that we pass the budget of our Parliament as an important, independent and inter-related arm of the state. We non-the less want to propose to you Hon Speaker and the Chair of the NCOP in your capacities as the executive authority of parliament, that as we pass this budget we must earnestly and honestly interrogate whether the frame work of resourcing our parliamentary work and indeed any other arm of state, is in keeping with the spirit of our constitution. Deputy Speaker it is our long held view that the allocation of resources to parliament should not follow the same pattern and frame work of allocating resources to the thirty seven executive portfolios and departments. We are an arm of state and not a portfolio of the executive. We are expected to hold the executive arm of state accountable through oversight, law making, public participation, constituency work and oversight visits to determine the extent to which the executive and the programmes at their disposal has changed the lives of our people for the better. Without an adequately resourced arm of state called parliament, the injunction of our constitution to hold the executive arm of state accountable will remain a pipe dream. Our failure to hold the executive to account on their programmes to change lives of our people for the better, on account of human and financial resources, is an omission that needs urgent attention from all of us.

The EFF in its constitution states that every member of the EFF shall have the duty;

1. to be loyal to the EFF
2. to observe and resort to the policies, resolutions, decisions of the central command team and the rules and regulations of the EFF.

In keeping with the provisions of its constitution, the EFF has ejected a number of MPs from this parliament including Mr Andile Mgxithama who has now founded something called BLF.

By the way, when the ANC proposed the election of Hon JG Zuma, as president of the Republic on the 21st of May 2014, at the start of the 5th parliament, the DA through its Hon James Self representing its caucus and its leadership, objected to President Zuma to being elected president of the republic once again. The Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who was presiding at the time eloquently, dismissed the objection and the point of order by the DA. Hon JG Zuma was then declared the president of the republic despite the opposition from the DA. The EFF has ever since the start of the 5th parliament, not hidden their dislike and hatred of President Zuma through their actions in this House and their pronouncements. It therefore follows that the DA and the EFF have always contested the decision of the ANC to make President Zuma the president of the republic. The ANC Caucus can therefore not join and be party to those parties that have not hidden their dislike of President Zuma and have continuously called for his removal from office.

Deputy Speaker, through this working together, we have never failed to pass the budget of our country in any year since the advent of democracy. What also was quite impressive last year was our working together as parties in this parliament to recommend appointment of, through a transparent and a participatory process, of the Human Rights Commissioners to the President, we have worked together to recommend appointment of the Inspector General of Intelligence, working together to recommend appointment of the Public Protector and many others. It will be amiss of us if we were not to congratulate ourselves as members of parliament for the contribution we made to stop the rot at the SABC through the parliamentary inquiry we established and its outcomes. The interim SABC board we recommended for appointment by the President is indeed acting on our inquiry outcomes and we are confident that the interim board working with the new Minister of Communications, Hon Ayanda Dlodlo, despite the many challenges, they are indeed on track to turn the SABC around for the good of all South Africans. We wish them everything of the best in their quest to turn the public broadcaster into the asset that it ought to be for our country. As we pass this budget of parliament, we can clearly point to the positive impact our work here in parliament has had in our country.
Deputy Speaker a week ago I received a letter from an ANC MP, I was very disturbed and shocked to learn and read about threats,
harassments and intimidation directed at the member. What was even more shocking and disturbing was that the member on some occasions could not go to her house fearing for her safety. As she works her in Cape Town, she also expressed deep fear for her children who are back home in view of these threats. Honourable member allegations have been made that certain sections of my own organisation, are behind these threats to the member.

Deputy Speaker as the ANC we commend to this house the approval of Vote 2 with the provisions we have made of reviewing the frame work of the resourcing parliament as an arm of state. At the moment the funding of parliament is only inadequate but also makes it impossible to properly hold the executive accountable and by so doing contribute meaningfully in changing lives of all South Africans for the better.

I thank you.

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