“What has happened to the deputy president?” IFP chief whip Narend Singh asked at Thursday morning’s meeting of the National Assembly Programming Committee.
“I’m also a little bit worried about where the deputy president is. He needs to come and answer questions,” DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone added.
While dealing with the programme, the committee, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, heard that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni wrote to the legislature, asking to table his adjustment budget to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic on 24 June.
At its previous meeting, the committee agreed to expedite this process. The adjustment budget is usually tabled in October.
Furthermore, the committee agreed to extend the current term to the end of June and confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa would answer questions on 18 June.
However, MPs asked what had happened to Deputy President David Mabuza.
According to ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina, they had the date for the question session with Ramaphosa, but none for Mabuza.
EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi said this was also raised at the Chief Whips’ Forum.
“Can we get a clear report on what is happening? Both of them, the president and the deputy president, must appear this term,” she said.
Modise said her office communicated with the office of the deputy president and that two dates were discussed but not confirmed. It was therefore not on the programme.
Mabuza’s representative in the meeting then pointed out that on Wednesday, at 23.05pm, he issued a letter on behalf of Mabuza, confirming that he would answer questions on 25 June.
Modise then confirmed that she received the letter, adding: “I’m sure most of us oldies were sleeping.”
On Wednesday, the National Assembly had its first hybrid sitting, with 250 MPs connected through a virtual platform and 47 who attended in the National Assembly chamber in Cape Town.
All parties, bar the EFF, expressed their satisfaction with proceedings, despite some minor technical issues, mostly relating to the sound and Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu’s connection problems.
EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini complained that several of its MPs couldn’t connect and repeated the EFF’s request that parliament should be moved to Tshwane.
Earlier, Modise said she received their letter and would respond, but added that it would be difficult to move.