The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has announced it will accept the ANC’s offer to take up the chairpersonship of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).
“The IFP can confirm that we have been offered the position of chairperson of the standing committee on public accounts in the sixth Parliament,” the party’s Narend Singh said in a statement on Friday.
“We believe that the offering of this post to the IFP is as a result of our very firm stance and tough position on corruption in holding the executive and all government departments to account,” he said.
The offer has for days now been Parliament’s worst kept secrets.
Earlier this week, the ANC said it would not confirm which opposition party it was negotiating with to take up the role.
But on copies of official documents handed out to journalists on who will take up which committee chairperson positions, next to Scopa was “IFP”.
The M&G understands the ANC offered 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 an 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 support, if it wants to wrest control from the DA before the 2021 local government elections.
The IFP also confirmed that 32-year-old MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa will take the lead in the accounts watchdog body
“We have nominated Mkhuleko Hlengwa to take up this post as he has over the past five years has been an active member of the SCOPA Committee and has played a formidable role in holding government departments to account,” Singh said.
As a former member of Scopa, Hlengwa has been known to grill even the most senior of Cabinet ministers on wasteful and irregular spending.
MPs will form new committees in the first week of July where new committee chairpersons will be nominated and voted in by committee members.
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).
His party did not win enough votes in the 2019 elections for a single seat in the National Assembly.