Moloto Mothapo. Picture: ANNA MAJAVU
Moloto Mothapo. Picture: ANNA MAJAVU

The DA is up in arms over the appointment of former ANC parliamentary caucus spin doctor, Moloto Mothapo, as the spokesperson for Parliament.

Mothapo resigned from his position in the ANC earlier in February after serving the party for 12 years. Parliament announced on Wednesday that the former ANC spokesperson would assume a senior position as the divisional manager responsible for Parliamentary Communication Services, effective from February 15.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said on Thursday the party totally opposed the appointment as it was inappropriate.

"We will be posing tough questions to the joint standing committee on the financial management of Parliament today [Thursday] and tomorrow [Friday] on what process what followed in his appointment, which candidates were considered and when interviews were conducted," said Steenhuisen.

He added: "It is unfathomable how someone so blatantly partisan can be considered as appropriate to assume the role as spokesperson for a multiparty institution like Parliament one day after vacating the position of spokesperson for the ANC caucus. There is no doubt that the ANC’s dirty tricks will be extended to Parliament at the public expense."

Furthermore, said Steenhuisen, it was "nonsensical" that Parliament should have a spokesperson at all considering the speaker of the National Assembly and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces are the de facto spokespersons for the legislature.

"Parliament is a public institution consisting of 12 political parties and will be grossly undermined by the appointment of a spokesperson who will be neither balanced nor fair in communicating on behalf of the legislature. Mothapo will be nothing but a spokesperson for the ANC in Parliament as opposed to the institution itself," said Steenhuisen.

On Wednesday, secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana justified Mothapo’s appointment, saying "it finishes a critical chapter in Parliament’s drive to ensure leadership stability and in building the requisite capacity to support MPs in executing their constitutional obligations".

"We have turned the tide and addressed concerns raised by both the auditor-general of SA and the audit committee of Parliament, about the risks posed to internal controls and governance by a 43% vacancy rate in the senior management level in the 2014-15 financial year," said Mgidlana.

He said Mothapo brings vast experience in communication, with extensive exposure to Parliament’s workings, as he recently served for 12 years as head of communication and caucus spokesperson for the ANC. Before serving the ANC caucus, Mothapo served as acting spokesperson and communication officer for union federation Cosatu.

Mothapo is the fourth divisional manager appointed by Parliament in recent months. Dumisani Sithole, a former MP, was recently appointed divisional manager for international relations and protocol; former bank executive Ravi Moodley was appointed as divisional manager for strategy and governance; and Vusumuzi Mavuso, who is a former member of the SABC board, assumed duties as a divisional manager for member support services.

© Business Day

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