Naked Grandstanding Alleged

Enquiry clouded by political games

gambling_4.311145126_stdTrade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and ANC MPs have hit back at DA MPs, accusing them of political grandstanding over their claim the minister evaded Parliament to answer questions on the suspension of the National Gambling Board for financial irregularities amounting to millions.

This comes after DA MPs in the portfolio committee on trade and industry told Davies on Thursday 6 November that he had kept them in the dark for two months over the gambling board’s suspension.

DA MPs Dean William MacPherson and Geordin Hill-Lewis said Davies failed to take responsibility for appearing before the committee and Parliament to explain his decision to suspend the board, pending a forensic investigation.

They said the board had spent R4 million on several overseas trips and was about to lease a building for R58m over the next 10 years. MacPherson said this was three times the market value of the lease.

But Davies and ANC MPs did not take kindly to DA accusations that he had avoided answering about the board’s suspension for two months.

Davies said at no point had he tried to run away from his responsibilities in Parliament.

“I reject with utter contempt any allegation that I have been evading the committee and Parliament,” said Davies.

He said he acted against the board as soon as the auditor-general, Kimi Makwetu, had uncovered financial irregularities. On the basis of this, he appointed an auditing firm to conduct a probe.

“There is an investigation taking place and it is important no Member of Parliament sullies that investigation,” said Davies. “Let me give this assurance, the chips will fall when they fall. We will not shield anybody.”

He accused the DA MPs of political grandstanding over their claim that he had kept Parliament in the dark on the matter. He was supported by ANC MPs who agreed that the official opposition was grandstanding.

gambling800ANC MP Thozama Mantashe said Davies should not be distracted by the DA’s political games.

She said the opposition wanted to cast a bad light on Davies.

Mantashe was backed by her colleague in the ANC, Bongani Mkongi, who said Davies had intervened timeously when he suspended the board.

“It’s grandstanding in this committee by members of this committee. It’s naked grandstanding,” he said of the DA MPs.

Another ANC MP, Zukile Luyenge, said there had never been an attempt by Davies to avoid answering questions on the suspension.

He said the DA was playing a political game ahead of the 2016 local government elections.

“We have to guard against the environment leading to 2016,” said Luyenge.

Davies said it would be remiss of the committee to behave like it was a tribunal.

He said processes were in place and the investigation would be completed in due course.

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