‘Parliamentary portfolio committees sleeping on duty’

Parliamentary Portfolio Committees are sleeping on duty at a time when they should be playing their oversight role on different government ministries, Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa has said.

Mliswa was responding to Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi, Ziyambi’s remarks that legislators have a role to play in ensuring the country’s health facilities are sufficiently funded.

That was after Bulawayo East legislator Ilos Nyoni asked Ziyambi in Parliament last Wednesday what the government policy was in ensuring hospitals are capacitated.

“My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care, in his absence, leader of the House,” said Nyoni.

“Most government hospitals, in general, are incapacitated in terms of essential medicines such that when citizens go for services in these hospitals, they are being asked to go and buy these essential medicines on their own. A good example is United Bulawayo Hospitals whereby anaesthetics drugs are not available resulting in the hospital not doing surgery. What is Government policy in ensuring that hospitals are capacitated so that there is adequate medication all the time?”

In his response, Ziyambi implored MPs to monitor budget disbursements to ministries.

“I want to concur with Hon. Ziyambi that the Portfolio Committees are supposed to get monthly, quarterly, yearly reports from the ministries to see if the money is coming through,” Mliswa said.

“The Minister is correct, the Portfolio Committees are not working in your Parliament, they are sleeping on duty; that then supervises whether the money is coming or not, and then they can call the Minister
to come through. The Public Financial Management Act is not being adhered to; monthly, quarterly and yearly reports should be coming in so that you have a case to say the money is not coming through.”

He further said: “Portfolio Committees are not working, you have to whip the Portfolio Chairpersons. They are sleeping on duty and the Public Accounts Committee in Nyanga also came up with that
recommendation. They must wake up and the government chief whip must remove certain members. Do not put them as friends, you need competent people. They are failures and they are making us look stupid, reshuffle them.”

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