President Zuma has today blatantly refused to answer a question on the cost of his recent trips to Russia.
In a reply to a written question I asked about the cost of his trips to Russia, President Zuma simply states that “Costs related to the visits would be included in The Presidency’s budgets for the respective years.” This is utter nonsense and a purposefully deceitful answer for two reasons:
When a member of Parliament asks for information that the Presidency already has at its disposal, it must answer immediately. It cannot wave away the answers to some future report that may or may not include the information.
The answer is also unacceptable given that the Presidency’s budget does not include detailed information as requested in my question. It only provides figures for all travel expenditure. That is not the point, and the President knows it. We want to know what the state paid for him to go have secret negotiations with the Russians. The Presidency’s budget will not include this information.
I am frankly appalled that the President of the country, who swore an oath to protect the Constitution, is flatly refusing to abide by his Constitutional obligation to answer questions from MPs.
The Constitutions states in section 92 (2) of the Constitution which states: “Members of the Cabinet are accountable collectively and individually to Parliament for the exercise of their performance and functions.”
But this is unfortunately yet another example of President Zuma undermining the rule of law by refusing to be held to account by Parliament. He refuses to answer oral questions, he now refuses to answer written questions, he has deployed his party chairwoman to the Speaker’s chair to protect him and he uses his majority in Parliament to whitewash his actions at every turn.
This answer is simply a disgrace and will not be tolerated. When President Zuma comes to Parliament again, the DA will ask him this question again.
Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance
Source : Democratic Alliance