- The DA has accused deputy president David Mabuza of deliberately lying to MPs when he answered questions in Parliament on Wednesday
- The controversy was centred on Mabuza’s refusal to answer a question about the independence of the Reserve Bank and how it affected SA’s credit rating from Moody’s
- A brief shouting match between MPs from the DA and ANC followed before calm was restored
The Democratic Alliance (DA) accused Deputy President David Mabuza of lying to Members of Parliament (MPs) when he was answering questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon.
The controversy which led to a chaotic and heated war of words between opposing MPs centred on Mabuza’s refusal to answer a question about how the independence of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) affected the country’s credit rating with Moody’s.
DA MP David Maynier asked Mabuza in a follow-up question about his opinion on the matter considering that Moody’s cited the Bank’s independence as a reason for its improved rating of South Africa.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Mabuza said it was a new question and they were currently looking at inputs from various ratings agencies. "At no stage did Moody's reflect on the Reserve Bank," Mabuza said. "I'm not going to comment on the Reserve Bank, unfortunately."
Maynier immediately rose on a point of order and said Mabuza was misleading MPs. He then read from the Moody’s report which specifically made mention of the SARB’s independence as a positive factor.
Speaker Baleka Mbete dismissed Maynier’s point of order. DA chief whip John Steenhuisen chimed in and noted that it was Parliament’s constitutional duty to hold the executive to account.
Another DA MP rose and said it wasn’t up to Mabuza to pick and choose which questions he wanted to answer. ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude said the DA couldn’t enforce its own will on Mabuza or instruct him on how or when to respond.
At this stage, Mbete tried to intervene in the situation and she suggested that the matter is tabled for discussion in a different forum, but Maynier wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
"The deputy president told an outright lie!" he charged.
Mbete asked him to desist from pursuing the matter in the House.
"The deputy president told an outright lie to this House!"
But an ANC whip said the DA had to withdraw the accusation that Mabuza lied.
"You don't have a clue what you're doing, mate," Steenhuisen sneered at Mabuza, who remained serene behind the podium.
ANC MP Patrick Chauke asked Mbete to address the "shouting and lies" of DA MPs.
"This only happens when the bar opens early," he added.
"I would like to refer the issue of the bar to the whips," Mbete said matter-of-factly.
Steenhuisen asked how Chauke knew who was in the bar if he wasn't there himself.
"Leave the bar out of the House," Mbete ordered.
Calm was restored after this exchange and Mabuza faced questions about his relationship with the Gupta family.
MPs wanted to know if he felt indebted to the family after they flew him to Russia on their private jet when he needed medical treatment. Mabuza shrugged off the implication that he had been bought by the family and said he owed them nothing for the lift to a doctor’s office.
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