Editorial: Can we spell accountability?

Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi was supposed to appear before a parliamentary committee looking into claims that she flew 30 family members on a junket and that she hired scores of relatives into her department. She didn’t turn up for the hearing. No explanation, nothing.

How reminiscent of when she was communications minister, responsible for the SABC (then ruled by the egregious Hlaudi Motsoeneng), and the broadcaster was being probed by Parliament – Muthambi didn’t turn up.

How reminiscent, too, of when Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini was required to answer to Parliament for the social grants debacle – and she simply didn’t turn up. She failed to arrive, a second time, for a second scheduled meeting with the relevant committee, and couldn’t even be bothered to send her deputy.

And that’s all a bit like what happened this week with Dlamini, who promised to “clarify” issues to do with social grants and the controversial payment system involved. This she was to do at a briefing at a resort in Limpopo, to which journalists dragged themselves for a stated start at 10am. But the minister didn’t show up. After two hours of waiting, the journalists left.

What a triumph of public relations for the embattled minister of an embattled department.

Other ministers have done the same, for example Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba (formerly minister of home affairs), who failed to arrive at a parliamentary committee hearing into the matter of how the Guptas got their South African citizenship fast-tracked.

Accountability? What’s that?

Keep the powerful accountable

Subscribe for R30/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

The Blue Train’s great Gupta voyage – and the whistleblower...

In 2016, Prinsloo sounded the alarm about the hazardous condition of the Blue Train and free trips being offered to friends of Transnet executives, including the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma.

Provincial political jostling is in full force as the ANC...

There will be losers and winners as the provinces prepare for their elective conferences and slates are sealed. Find out who is trading.

It’s a Khaltsha thing: Khayelitsha’s growing middle class

In a few years the township will ‘disappear’, and Khayelitsha will become a city, believes one local entrepreneur

Locust fighters in a losing battle in the Nama Karoo

Expert calls for a radical rethink of how South Africa manages brown locust outbreaks.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…