Address by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP in the Parliamentary Debate: Budget Vote 5 – International Relations & Cooperation (30 May 2013)

Mister Speaker, Ministers and Deputy Ministers and Honourable Members,

The UDM supports Budget Vote 5.

We wish to thank the Department for all the good things it has done. I will however leave the enumeration of the Department’s achievements to its praise singers.

During our oversight visit to the Department’s Head Offices in Pretoria at the beginning of the year, we were shocked to learn that the Director General (DG) of the Department and his senior officials had not been briefed about the 2012 agreement to deploy South African troops in the Central African Republic (CAR).  Yet they are the first line of defence with respect to our foreign policy.

Whilst still on the subject of CAR deployment, could the Honourable Minister take the Nation into confidence and explain operation Morero and its implications?

It would be interesting to know whether the President briefed the Honourable Minister timeously about the 2012 CAR deployment. If yes, why did you not brief your DG and his deputies? If not, would you not agree with someone who says that your mandate as the Head of our foreign policy was hijacked?

We ask these questions because the President is duty bound to consult with the Departments of Defence, State Security and International Relations as well as Parliament in all foreign military deployments. Could it be that your Department was also bypassed in government’s dubious decision to support regime change in Libya?

If this is the norm, then there is a possibility that the Presidency bypassed your Office and gave direct instructions to the Chief of State Protocol, Bruce Koloane during the Guptagate scandal. Would you deny this Honourable Minister?

In any event, I am still wondering why a person who is supposed to have delegated powers should require permission from the Executive to authorise the landing of an aeroplane at an unclassified airport.

The fact that the Presidency has no portfolio committee leaves the onus is on you, Honourable Minister, to explain these matters to the public.

Thank you.