The DA yesterday accused the executive of lacking respect for the oversight mechanisms of Parliament and called for action against this trend.
Despite Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's assurance on November 4 that the cabinet had committed itself to answering all parliamentary questions by December 15, a total of 110 questions by the DA were noted as unanswered and lapsed, the party's chief whip Ian Davidson said.
"The reluctance of the executive to fulfil its constitutional obligation and the disdain shown for the parliamentary oversight mechanisms, which has been a long-standing issue raised by the DA, has once again become evident through this," he said.
The DA had on numerous occasions asked Motlanthe, as leader of government business, to intervene and ensure that ministers were held accountable for their actions and fulfilled their constitutional obligation by answering parliamentary questions.
In response to this, Motlanthe had stated he reported back on outstanding questions at every cabinet meeting and would take action against ministers failing to fulfil their duties.
The commitment to answer all questions by December 15, like many others made by the executive, was not fulfilled.
Altogether 14 of the 34 ministers failed to abide by the commitment, leaving 110 DA-posed questions unanswered in 2009.
Though it was commendable to say that 20 of the 34 minister did comply, it should be noted that ministers in key portfolios like Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Health, Police, and Transport were among those who failed to provide replies.
It should also be noted that several ministers, including those of Home Affairs, State Security, and Defence and Military Veterans, continuously failed to provide sufficient and adequate replies to the questions posed to them.
"Although each minister has taken an oath or affirmation to uphold and protect the Constitution of South Africa, they refrain from fulfilling this basic requirement, thus contravening their own undertakings and showing disrespect for the Constitution and Parliament," he said.
From this it was also evident that both President Jacob Zuma and Motlanthe shared Cabinet's disdain for the parliamentary oversight mechanisms and were doing nothing to address their ministers' indifference towards Parliament.
The DA would re-submit the 110 questions. - Sapa