Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli’s remarks at this morning’s pre-SONA briefing that the DA had not given him sufficient notice and is responsible for the costs incurred by not attending Parliament’s pre- and post-SONA receptions are a disingenuous attempt to mislead the media and deflect his office’s embarrassment.
Our caucus was only officially notified of the post-SONA reception last Thursday, 5 February. We made the immediate decision not to attend and subsequently communicated that to the Speaker’s Office.
For Deputy Speaker Tsenoli to suggest that we had known about it for a year is simply misleading. Furthermore, accusations that we had requested additional tickets to the reception are completely untrue.
Our caucus had only requested addition tickets for the State of the Nation Address, which is what the focus of the day should be about – not lavish parties.
I will write to the Deputy Speaker and request that he retract his misleading comments and accusations.
These receptions, as well their costs, the increased level of security and possible presence of Public Order Police at this year’s SONA, was raised and evaded at last week’s Chief Whips’ Forum – which eventually descended into an acrimonious battle for clarity from the Speaker and Secretary’s offices who seem determined to wine and dine at the expense of the taxpayer.
As long as millions of South Africans are without electricity and may go to bed without a meal every night, lavish dinners funded by the taxpayer are indefensible.
If the Deputy Speaker is as concerned about the potential waste as he claims, we recommend Parliament cancels its post-SONA function and instead donates the evening’s lavish spreads to those in need.
Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance
Source : Democratic Alliance