The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation does meet her obligations to Parliament and the Portfolio Committee
We reject the allegation carried by a media report, quoting a member of the opposition party in parliament, this morning stating that the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, is among the nineteen ministers who “have failed to appear before parliament for oral questioning, with no explanation for their absence” and also that they disregard the “answering of both written and oral parliamentary questions”. Our view is that it is incorrect and devoid of all truth.
First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that it is in the nature of international relations programme for foreign affairs ministers throughout the world to travel extensively in carrying out their duties – so Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and her two Deputy Ministers are no exception.
As a Department we have so far obliged to all requests by the Portfolio Committee to give briefings, make presentations and to submit any document requested. Where there was a request for Minister or Deputy Ministers to attend meetings of the Portfolio Committee, the Ministry would check against the principals’ diaries to see if there would not be any clash with prior arranged or pressing matters and the Committee would then be informed accordingly.
After the fourth Parliament opened in 2009, we ensured that the Minister and senior management of the Department attend the first Portfolio Committee of the 4th Parliament as a gesture of respect to Parliament and our commitment to cooperate with the Portfolio Committee. There was no invite for Minister to be present, but we felt it would be correct for us to do so.
We must put it on record that there is no request from the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation that we, as far as we know, that the Minister has refused to respond to or comply with. Our records testify to this.
As a matter of fact, our two Deputy Ministers also ensure they are available for Portfolio Committee sittings whenever there is a request for a political principal to attend these meetings.
We know that the DA component of the Committee was not happy with the way the Committee was managed and they did voice this in one meeting, but it had nothing to do with the relations between the Ministry of the International Relations and Cooperation and the Committee.
We must here place it on record that since 2007 to 2009, we have closed all these years without one parliamentary question outstanding and we are determined to do the same in 2010.
For more information, please contact the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or e-mail him at email@example.com
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
6 September 2010