Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Parliament’s budget watchdog role tipped to go to the IFP

The ANC says it has identified which opposition party it would ask to take the chairpersonship of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa). But it says it cannot confirm which party in particular, while it is still in negotiations.

Several sources have told the Mail & Guardian, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is tipped to take the position.

Speaking at a press conference in Cape Town to announce the party’s portfolio committee chairpersons on Wednesday, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said: “As we said, we are giving it to an opposition party, but we are still consulting the opposition party on Scopa.”

The IFP is also keeping mum on the matter. Narend Singh, its chief whip in the National Assembly, said they have not been approached. “We saw that on a list. It had “IFP” written next to Scopa. That’s as far as we know.”

Asked if the party will accept the position if approached, Singh said: “Ya, definitely.”

The M&G understands the ANC plans to offer the position to the IFP in exchange for support in metros lost during 2016 local government elections.

The ANC lost control of Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay metros during the electoral bloodbath. Added to the Cape Town metro, which the ANC lost in 2006, the party controls only one of the five largest municipalities in the country.

The IFP, with its five seats in the Johannesburg metro, is currently a coalition partner of the Democratic Alliance (DA). Even with the IFP’s support, the ANC would still need votes from other political parties, including the EFF if it wants to wrest control from the DA.

But the IFP’s Singh says there’s no such agreement as yet.

“They haven’t approached us formally, so there are no formal discussions with them with regards to this position. They haven’t asked us for anything, and we haven’t asked them for anything. If it comes our way we would want to contribute to good governance by putting someone in that chair,” he said.

If the IFP does accept the Scopa chairpersonship, 32-year-old MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa is likely to be chairperson. He is a former member of the accounting watchdog and has been known to grill even the most senior of Cabinet ministers on wasteful and irregular spending.

He declined to give comment until given the go-ahead by his party.

The ANC’s chief whip Pemmy Majodina confirmed the party is in talks with one opposition party, but would not be drawn into saying which one without permission from the ANC’s national executive committee.

“At the moment we are still making representations to the top six [of the ANC’s leadership], and we are unable to say which party we have resolved on. But there are political engagements taking place,” she said.

The position of chairperson of Parliament’s public accounts watchdog traditionally goes to an opposition party in the spirit of transparency and good governance. The role was previously held by Themba Godi of the African People’s Convention (APC).

The APC did not get enough votes in the 2019 general election to obtain a single seat in the National Assembly.

Following the elections on May 8, the DA had extended an olive branch to the ANC, intimating it would like the Scopa chairperson in the National Assembly.

The DA offered the ANC the position in the Western Cape legislature. It was duly accepted.

The DA said that there have been informal deliberations with the ANC on the Scopa position.

But that does not appear to have come to fruition.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

Officials implicated in arts council mismanagement will be brought to...

The National Arts Council vows that every cent from the sector’s Covid-19-relief programme will be disbursed to artists, after auditors uncover maladministration

Covid-19 vaccine mandates: a constitutional balancing act

South Africa’s laws allow the government to implement mandatory Covid vaccinations but, if it chooses this path, it must do so responsibly

Popularity will not guarantee mayoral selection — Ramaphosa

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has promised a more rigorous mayoral selection process, which will involve the party’s top six

Nowhere to turn for abused bakery workers

After being chased away for asking for minimum wage, Gqeberha bakers who endured racism turned first to the CCMA, then to a political party, then to a union. None helped
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×