Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has come under scrutiny for ‘skipping meetings’ held by her ministry for Small Business Development before and in the midst of the civil unrest in South Africa, but her spokesperson has defended her absence saying the Department was not invited to the meetings of the committee.
Absence from leadership
The portfolio committee holding oversight over the Department for Small Business Development came together for meetings before the unrest which Ntshavheni did not attend. Yesterday, opposition parties took to pointing out the Acting Minister’s absence as IOL reports.
Ntshavheni was absent when the MPs serving on the committee met for plans regarding oversight visits to Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, but she wasn’t alone in her absence.
Deputy Rosemary Cape and director-general Lindokuhle Mkumane were not in attendance to brief the committee on intervention procedures in a pretty pivotal time to be present- the unrest.
EFF MP Dumisani Mthenjane expressed that “As a committee, we are sitting without a minister of this department. We sit without a deputy minister,” as quoted by IOL.
However, Moira Mogomotsi, Ntshavheni’s spokesperson engaged that the department was not invited to the meeting of the committee. She further added that “the portfolio committee performs their oversight function without the supervision of the department.”
Operating between two departments isn’t working.
“We have said this minister must rather serve in the presidency as a permanent candidate. We are saying we need to get a minister in this department who is going to be here full time so that he or she can take this department seriously,” Mthenjane added.
In light of not being taken seriously as a department by their leadership, Babalwa Mathulelwa (EFF MP) expressed that she also sadly felt that the department was not taken seriously, after adding that the Small Business Development Department had never developed small businesses in South Africa since its establishment.
Plans of action for unrest aftermath?
The committee plans to visit various areas in KZN and Gauteng, including King Cetywayo and eThekwini and the City of Johannesburg as well as potentially Tshwane in efforts to strive toward direct engagements with businesses.
According to ANC MP Faiez Jacobs, the committee should hold awareness for the economic relief packages that the government is developing. However, ATM’s Vuyo Zungula expressed that the government needs to direct its attention toward small businesses.
For the time being, it can be deduced that the first phase of action is gathering information for assessment according to committee chairperson Violet Siwela.
Picture: SA Government/Twitter