Minister has to account

SOMEONE, preferably the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu herself, should rein in her overzealous spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya.

SOMEONE, preferably the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu herself, should rein in her overzealous spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya.

Mabaya tells us that the Minister does not need to explain that the Housing Ministry ended up spending R22 million on a play as part of the department's communications project. He says those calling for this are "sensational and politicking".

Mabaya needs to be less emotional and understand that demanding accountability from public officials, especially when they spend taxpayer's money, is never "politicking" or "sensational". Accountability is the very essence of a constitutional democracy.

The Minister's explanation may very well be reasonable, but until we know what the thinking behind this was, Mabaya needs to stop the theatrics. In the same breath, political parties need not jump to conclusions that there was graft.

The principle should be that moving from one ministry to another should not make any previous incumbent less accountable for their actions while at the helm.

On its own, demanding accountability cannot be assumed to signify antipathy towards those being asked to account. It would be odd to have another minister explaining Sisulu's decisions while she sat in the House listening.

We also trust that Sisulu values her reputation better than her aide seems to. We cannot imagine one of the most admired and hardworking ministers destroying her reputation because a rule book says she does not have to respond to a question.

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