The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Amos Masondo, to outline expectations for the Parliamentary inquiry into the riots which took place three weeks ago in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, and to ensure that the correct processes are followed in setting up the ad hoc committee.
The DA said it welcomes the initiative by House Chairperson, Cedric Frolick, to call for an inquiry into the wide-spread looting and violence that led to the deaths of more than 300 people, but the proper procedure to establish an inquiry of this nature would be for the Speaker and the NCOP chair to request it.
Once an ad hoc committee is correctly established, the DA expects both the NCOP and National Assembly co-chairpersons to be a member of the opposition; expecting the three Ministers of the security cluster, Police Minister Bheki Cele, State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to be removed if the inquiry finds that they did indeed mislead the country regarding the insurrection; and the ‘redacted’ intelligence reports must be made public.
“Residents in KZN and Gauteng deserve the full truth of why their lives and livelihoods were torn apart,” said DA Shadow Minister of State Security, Dianne Kohler Barnard.
The DA also suggests that a formula be found to reduce the number of ad hoc committee members to a manageable size. Convening a meeting with all the necessary role players, the portfolio committees in the National Assembly for Police, Justice and Correctional Services, and Defence and Military Veterans, as well as the Joint Standing Committees of Defence and of Intelligence, and the Select Committee for Security and Justice of the NCOP, would make it difficult to engage in the cross-questioning that is necessary in an such an inquiry.
Barnard highlighted that any opportunity for a cover-up, or even the perception of a cover-up, cannot be allowed. This inquiry can therefore not be led by the parliamentary committee on police, nor its chairperson, Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Barnard suggests that the credibility of the inquiry would be enhanced if both of the chairpersons of the ad hoc committee were drawn from the ranks of the opposition parties, and it is further suggested, in the interests of transparency, that the lead is taken by the justice committee.
Barnard concluded in saying, “Any attempt by the ANC to exonerate the Executive and to whitewash the security cluster’s failures in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, will not be allowed.”