DA demands Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams be disciplined for ignoring parliament

24 August 2020 - 14:12
 Communication and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Image: Gallo Images/Jeffrey Abrahams Communication and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

The DA has called for disciplinary proceedings to be instituted against communication and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for ignoring parliament.

DA MP Phumzile Van Damme said in a statement on Monday that Ndabeni-Abrahams had twice disregarded parliament on issues pertaining to the appointment of councillors for the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) council.

Van Damme said Ndabeni-Abrahams had gone ahead, appointing five Icasa councillors at the weekend despite parliament insisting earlier on the appointment of six councillors.

Van Damme charged that Ndabeni-Abrahams had written to the speaker last month rejecting the National Assembly’s proposed list of candidates to serve on the council —  which violated the constitutional principle of the separation of powers.

Now it was time for speaker Thandi Modise to take disciplinary action, said Van Damme.

“That the minister has now only appointed five, and not the six as per the decision of National Assembly, is a brazen middle finger at parliament and must be dealt with harshly,” said Van Damme.

“Ndabeni-Abrahams has not only violated the principles of the constitution, the Icasa Act but also two additional laws governing the conduct of ministers — the Executive Members’ Ethics Code and the Powers and Privileges Act.

“A violation of the Powers and Privileges Act by a minister, who is also an MP, is contempt of parliament and the house has the power to institute disciplinary action. If an MP is found guilty she could be removed as an MP, among other sanctions.”

Van Damme said DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone would ensure that the speaker took action.

“Throughout her term, minister Ndabeni-Abrahams has on repeated occasions demonstrated that she does not believe the law applies to her by ... interfering in the work of the SABC and Post Office board, contravening lockdown regulations and now, for the second time, ignoring a decision of parliament.

“We trust that the speaker will deal with this matter expeditiously and the harshest sanction possible is handed down to stop ‘Princess Stella’ as she has described herself.”