The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a new Leader of Government Business in Parliament “in light of Deputy President David Mabuza’s illness.”
Mabuza, as Deputy President, currently holds the position in line with informal tradition. However, the Constitution empowers the President to “appoint a member of the Cabinet” as Leader of Government Business, which means a Minister may also be appointed to the role.
‘7th missed appearance’
Mabuza has missed several scheduled appearances in Parliament, citing ill health. In a statement on Friday, DA MP Solly Malatsi said Thursday’s postponed oral questions session was the seventh time Mabuza had missed an appearance since September last year.
“In 2019, he also missed sessions on 17 October, 21 November and 27 November. And this year, he failed to give account to the National Council of Provinces on 24 July, and the National Assembly on 30 July and 20 August,” Malatsi said.
He added that Mabuza’s ill health “seems to perpetually hamper the execution of his duties” and is affecting the work of Parliament and the government.
Malatsi said, “Given that the Deputy President’s ill health is of great concern to the nation and is continuing to prevent Parliament from holding Government and the Presidency to account, especially during the National State of Disaster and in light of the COVID-19 corruption, it is important that someone be appointed to fulfil the role of Leader of Government business.
“The DA calls on the President to use the powers that he has to appoint a Leader of Government Business who will be able to come to account to Parliament and the South African public.”
He reiterated the DA’s call for South Africa’s Surgeon-General to provide clarity on Mabuza’s health because his ability to perform his constitutional duties “is of national importance.”
On Thursday, Mabuza’s Parliamentary Counsellor Hope Papo told Parliament that Mabuza had opted to skip his appearance based on advice from his medical team.
Papo added, “The Deputy President wanted to come this week to answer; actually he was ready to come and answer questions. Medical advice said he must just wait a bit and then there was an agreement with the Speaker [that] there would be a mutually agreed date.
“The Deputy President is not incapacitated, but he was asked to actually not [come] because [he has] to speak for a long time, three to four hours – and that actually happens.”
Earlier this month, the Presidency issued a statement insisting that Mabuza “is at home and well” and that “anything contrary to this is a malicious and unfortunate rumour.”