The proposed amendments to the Cannabis for Private Purposes bill that seeks to further decriminalise cannabis usage and legalise South…
by Dr Dion George MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Finance
The DA will write to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that he urgently reprimands Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana for not adequately answering questions in Parliament on the R11 billion World Bank loan. In a Finance Committee meeting today, the Minister displayed exactly how little he cares about the finances of South Africa and Parliament’s oversight role.
He failed to join the meeting on time and connected 30 minutes late without an acceptable excuse. He then insulted Parliament further, by speaking for less than a minute and then said he will field questions.
The Minister clearly failed to afford Parliament the respect it deserves in its role of holding the Executive to account.
This is not the first time that the Minister displayed total disregard for the people of South Africa and the important job that he is expected to do. He also failed to appear before the Committee after his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement and without any explanation.
The Minister was unable to provide any detail and Treasury was vague on when drawing rights would be exercised.
With our national debt spiraling upwards and interest repayments crowding out service delivery, the servicing of our national debt will soon be the largest part of our national budget.
Government has mismanaged the people’s money through wasteful spending on failing SOEs and allowed enormous leakages from the public finances. The state would rather increase borrowing to pay its bills, instead of tightening its belt and stimulating economic growth. It appears the Minister has never learnt that the first step to start getting out of a hole is to stop digging.
The Minister needs to start taking his job seriously, stop digging our nation into an even deeper debt hole and instead create economic growth.
While the Minister may not take Parliament seriously, the DA certainly does. We will be ensuring that Parliament works again in 2022, by holding the executive to account and bringing a raft of new legislation aimed at fixing this institution in the near future.
There still is no clarity on what the loan will be used for and what conditions are attached to it. Since the Minister was not prepared to answer questions in person, I have submitted written questions to him, which he will hopefully have more time to prepare for. I will also be writing to the President to request further details given the failure of the Minister to properly account to the public this morning.
Image: Charles Thompson