Holding the executive to account is the principal duty and solemn obligation of every member of this parliament. It is accomplished through continuous public challenge and questioning of the executive’s policies and actions, and is the manner in which our Ministers and their respective Departments are held to public account and scrutiny.
Members of this parliament, upon taking office swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution. Holding the executive to account is then premised upon the majority of the members of this parliament acting in the best interests of the country as they uphold her laws.
Here is the flaw, this system of checks and balances and of holding the executive to account is premised on upon a healthy and functioning democracy. It is of little force and effect when the majority of the members of this parliament have been reduced to mere window dressing, pot-plants if you will, members who have abandoned their moral compasses and subjugated their consciences to the will of their political masters, and in so doing forsaken the very people that placed them in these positions of national responsibility in the first place.
Evidence-based-substantive scrutiny should hold the day and inform the decisions of this House. However when the very functionaries of those decisions, the elected representatives, are hell-bent on protecting a certain personage or perhaps petrified of speaking their conscience, the entire system crumbles.
We may as well then resign ourselves to the fact that we are in fact not a democracy, but rather a thinly veiled totalitarian regime.
When last can we honestly say that there was full executive transparency as regards parliamentary questions and debates, or a constructive exchange of views between MP’s and the executive?
When last have we seen constructive dialogue, a reciprocity and exchange of views between MP’s and the Executive?
When last have we seen a full bench of the executive present in this House, in order to reply to member’s statements?
South Africa is beset with many challenges, social, economic and political. These issues require concerted effort, robust and continuous debate and on-going engagement, if we are to win the day and take this country forward.
Every single member of this House has a solemn duty and responsibility to hold the executive to account in the best interests of all South African’s.
I thank you.
Hon. Narend Singh, MP
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IFP Media, Parliament