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MPS’ PLEAS FALL ON DEAF EARS

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MBABANE - Forget it! Pleas by Members of Parliament (MPs) calling for the Office of the Prime Minister, Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini to take action against a ‘certain individual’ who refused to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have not borne fruits.


It is on record that Senate President Lindiwe Dlamini did not present herself before the committee to answer on issues pertaining the Nhlangano-Sicunusa Road while she was still the Minister of Public Works and Transport.


When the minister appeared before the House of Assembly Portfolio Committee early this week, Ndzingeni MP Lutfo Dlamini submitted that the PAC was established by the Constitution and mentioned that if ‘any individual’ did not want to appear in public, she could have arranged for a private sitting.
However, instead of taking action, the PM’s Office has distanced itself from the issue saying it should be handled by the office of the Speaker and the Sessional Committee.


This is contained in the report of the PM’s office portfolio committee on the debate of the second quarter performance for the financial year 2019/2020 which was tabled at the House of Assembly yesterday.
MP Lutfo had argued that the act by the ‘individual’ needed to be taken seriously as it was contemptuous.


“Cognisant of fact that the PAC is an oversight committee of Parliament, it is, therefore, appropriate that this matter be dealt with by the office of the Speaker and the Sessional Committee,” reads part of the report. Another issue which the PM’s Office distanced itself from was related to a suggestion that the PM should consider extension of PAC sittings throughout the year as the role of the committee had proven to be demanding all year round.


Again, the response was that the proposal was noted but that the matter should be addressed to the Speaker and the Sessional Committee who are responsible for regulating Parliament business.
On another note, the PM’s Office has given hope that the review of benefits and welfare of deputy presiding officers who undertake the duties of presiding officers will be looked into.


This was in response to a submission that the PM should review the benefits so that the deputy presiding officers could receive the same treatment accorded to the presiding officers.
“The concern is noted. Hopefully, this matter will be properly addressed by the commission appointed to review the remunerations and benefits of politicians,” was the response given.


Also, in the report, the PM addressed a concern raised by MPs to the effect that the Parliamentary Service Board was not meeting to address issues within its mandate.


In the response, the PM explained that the Board existed but that it was faced with challenges.


Challenges


“It has been faced with certain challenges. Nonetheless, it will be meeting soon to deliberate on matters relating to the welfare of staff and other policy matters,” assured the PM.
Regarding the tenure of office of the Matsapha Town Council Interim Board, it seems like it might run for longer than expected. This is because the PM’s Office has made it clear that the election of Boards for local authorities was conducted after every five years.


In the report, the PM was responding to a question that was posed by MPs on when a new Board of councillors would be appointed following the dismissal of the one that was elected by ratepayers and replaced with an interim Board.


“When the time for election of all boards comes, the Matsapha councillors will be elected. We also want to advise that it is within the minister’s powers to appoint an interim whenever the board is dismissed for whatever reason,” the PM said in the report.

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