The ANC in Parliament could be headed for a showdown with the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) over a letter from one of the party’s MPs demanding a hearing into comments by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Scopa said it would meet on Tuesday to discuss the letter of suspended ANC MP Mervyn Dirks for remarks by Ramaphosa in the national executive committee on the misuse of public funds for campaigns for positions in the party.
But the ANC on Saturday refused to be drawn on whether it would allow Dirks to attend the meeting or for the matter to be pursued by Scopa.
ANC acting caucus spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota said it was an internal party matter.
“These remain internal matters and we are not at liberty to provide further details currently,” said Kota.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina had early in the week written to Dirks that he was suspended with immediate effect pending disciplinary action.
Majodina also said Dirks was barred from taking part in any activities of Parliament and his membership of Scopa had been withdrawn.
But Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they were determined that the meeting will go ahead on Tuesday.
He said this matter was now in the hands of Parliament and no longer a party matter.
“The committee does not draw into party political activities and/or factions and therefore due regard is given to avoid polarising the committee whose work, whilst is in the political space, it must rise above party political divides and pay particular attention to the Rules of the National Assembly, the Constitution and applicable legislation to our work.
“The matter brought before me by Dirks, and being processed towards the committee, does fall within the ambit of matters which deserve our attention,” said Hlengwa.
He said the suspension of Dirks from the ANC had no bearing on what Scopa was doing.
Scopa was empowered by the law to invite or summons anyone to appear before it.
Hlengwa also launched a pre-emptive strike if the ANC decides to withdraw the letter.
“Furthermore, a withdrawal of the letter if it were to arise does not conclude the matter without due process as a report would still be required of the committee,” said Hlengwa.
He said the matter was now in the hands of Parliament and the committee would decide on it.
The ANC commands the majority of members in Scopa.