Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where's Winnie Mandela?

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who earns a total of R771787 a year, cannot afford to furnish the taxpayer-sponsored home allocated to her as an MP last year.

This is her response to a row brewing in the corridors of parliament over the allocation of homes in the parliamentary village to MPs from different political parties.

The liberation struggle stalwart was drawn into a High Court battle last year that saw two COPE MPs face eviction by the government from their three-bedroom homes in the village to make way for Madikizela-Mandela and the late minister of health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

There are three parliamentary villages in Cape Town where MPs live, at a subsidised cost of about R200 a month. Madikizela-Mandela was sworn in as an MP last year - earning an annual salary of R771787 including allowances.

COPE MP Dennis Bloem vacated his home, called Flamingo, to make way for Madikizela-Mandela. But she was allocated another home in the village, the Falcon residence.

Despite the costly High Court battle to provide Madikizela-Mandela with a parliamentary home, the Sunday Times has established that she is not living there. In an SMS response to questions from the Sunday Times, she brushed aside criticism about her not moving in.

"If indeed there are a few MPs who spend their energy getting upset about where other MPs live, to the extent that it is any business of theirs - given that Mrs Mandela does not stay in Cape Town at parliament's expense and to the extent that they appear to be upset about a house they expect a former pensioner to furnish overnight on an MP's salary - she wishes them well and is happy to suggest the name of a good counsellor," the SMS reads. (TKD - typical kaffer dialogue.)

On Friday, COPE's lawyers called for a meeting with the Chief Whips Forum to discuss the ANC's alleged bullying tactics over housing arrangements.

The Department of Public Works said it had allocated homes to political parties, who then distributed them to MPs - but did not appear to keep tabs on what became of the homes.

In a damning letter to the forum last week, COPE leaders said they had reason to believe ANC MPs were allowed to "lease their units to relatives or members of the public".

Madikizela-Mandela has also drawn sharp criticism for her absence from parliament.

Moloto Mothapo, spokesman for ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga, refused to be drawn on her alleged absenteeism.

"Why should we single her out? There are others who are absent just as much, but I am not going to mention names," Mothapo said.

DA shadow minister for social development, Patricia Kopane, said she was "disgusted" at the ANC for allowing Madikizela-Mandela to get paid for doing "nothing".

"The last time I saw her was at the state of the nation address, where she was sitting in the public gallery competing with the new Mrs Mandela, Graça Machel," Kopane said.

Corné Mulder, chief w hip for the Freedom Front Plus, who sits three rows behind Madikizela-Mandela, said her seat had been empty for months.

The parliamentary communication services confirmed that there had been 49 plenary sittings of the National Assembly between April last year and this week.

"I would like someone to prove differently but I cannot think of her being there more than five times since the elections last year," said Mulder.

He said the last time he saw Madikizela-Mandela in parliament was last Tuesday.

Cheryllyn Dudley, chief whip for the African Christian Democratic Party, said: "We haven't looked into the facts, but it is something that is pretty obvious. I think she came to a meeting once last week and the last time we probably saw her was back during the Mandela celebration."

Mothapo said all ANC MPs liaised with the chief whip if they could not attend parliamentary sessions.

"The principle is that, whenever the need for the absence of MPs emerges for reasons beyond their and the caucus's control, an apology is forwarded and in some instances discussed with the chief whip before permission is granted. This applies to all our MPs without exception," Mothapo said.

According to parliament's website, Madikizela-Mandela is a member of the social development portfolio committee, but the DA's Helen Lamoela said Madikizela-Mandela had never attended meetings.

The Sunday Times has established that Madikizela-Mandela is an alternate member of the basic education portfolio committee. This means she only acts as a stand-in for fellow party members who cannot attend committee meetings.

"If you are an MP, the most important thing is that you must be in a portfolio committee because that is the engine of parliament - it is where you discuss and enforce decisions of parliament," said Kopane.

"If one fails to be a member of such committees, what type of member are you?"
Comment by BornintheRSA:

It's one of the accepted ways of looting. Quite legit and quite acceptable. No need for a moral debate.

The Times Live, 28 March 2010

3 Opinion(s):

AMB said...

ANC = do as I say and not as I do.

Anonymous said...

eish, i am dreaming of a blaaaack christmas

giving malema a bit of head

no damn whitey
to make my life shitey

wish they all were gone and dead

snore.......

Krokodil said...

The SA parliament is one of the worse attended in the world - if not the worst - according to what I've heard.

Maybe someone better informed than I can confirm or deny that.