Sizani’s response was in reaction to criticisms from opposition parties that ANC MPs go out of their way to protect senior party members in government from difficult questions.
Questions around the quality of oversight being done by parliament have been raised following Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s revelations about widespread corruption, nepotism and mismanagement at the Passanger Rail Agency of South Africa.
The way in which procurement and public finance laws have been flouted at Prasa did not come as a surprise to MPs.
Parliament’s portfolio committee as well as its watchdog public accounts committee were first alerted to this in 2013 by the auditor general. Irregularities with another R3.5-billion contract for locomotives were confirmed in 2014 by the Auditor General Kimi Makwetu.
While he said the winning bidder should be disqualified, this did not happen and cabinet remained silent as did parliament.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen says it is impossible for opposition parties to get around the ANC majority in the legislature when it works to protect a senior party member in government or in cabinet from embarrassment.
But Sizani says oversight is a complex task and, although there is room for improvement, MPs are doing a thorough job.
(File photo: Gallo Images)
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