The ignorance in the presidency regarding president Jacob Zuma’s parliamentary obligations as set out by the president’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, is really upsetting, Dr. Corné Mulder, the Freedom Front Plus’ chief whip and parliamentary member says.
The president is in terms of the Constitution a member of cabinet and also the head of the executive. The Constitution requires that the Cabinet, including the president, regularly report to parliament about their duties.
It is therefore the constitutional duty of parliament to have oversight over the activities of the president and cabinet.
In giving practical effect to this, Rule 111(1) of the Rules of the National Assembly stipulates that the president has to answer questions put to him by members in parliament at least once every quarter. It is not an option or discretion, but a constitutional obligation.
There are four quarters and president Zuma therefore has to appear in parliament four times a year to answer questions posed by members of parliament.
To date in 2014 he has only appeared once and there is no indication that he will be coming to parliament before the end of this year to meet his obligations.
Remarks about this made by both his spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, as well as Gwede Mantashe, the secretary general of the ANC, speaks of shocking ignorance. It is tragic that the president is being advised by an inner circle that is ignorant about the provisions of the Constitution, as well as the rules of parliament.
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