South Africa: Speaker Modise Shields Didiza From Accountability

press release

Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, has taken her 'head in the sand' approach to a whole new level, this time by using her position to try and shield the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, from accountability.

In a letter that she sent yesterday, she erroneously attempts to dissuade me from exercising my oversight responsibilities due to a 'concern' raised by the Minister over an oversight visit that I conducted at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) head office in Pretoria on 15 June 2021.

I undertook the oversight visit after receiving repeated calls for assistance from farmers in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal who are yet to receive their lease agreements despite promises to do so by the Minister. In addition, I wanted to take a look at the land administration database, records of lease agreements and the database of all Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) farms.

Not only was I prevented from carrying out the oversight and getting answers on the aforementioned, in line with my responsibilities as a Member of Parliament, but Departmental officials went to extreme lengths to make sure that I left.

In Modise's book, the plight of farmers who have been left in the lurch by unfulfilled promises made by Didiza do not matter. She would rather prevent an MP from doing her job than let Didiza account to desperate farmers.

This is the second time this week that Modise has failed to exercise discretion in the exercise of her responsibilities. She refused two requests to reconvene Parliament and debate the tumultuous events of the past fortnight in KZN, even though they amounted to an insurrection - as stated by the President.

Didiza and her officials may dodge accountability but they will not hide forever. If she can't handle the heat, the kitchen is better left to those who are committed to serve South Africans with integrity.

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