The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the African National Congress (ANC) were involved in a face-off following Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s absence from an important budget debate in Parliament.
The Finance Minister was unavoidably absent from the debate of the budget he recently presented to the Parliament.
The DA insisted that the budget debate should be postponed to next week, saying it is unacceptable that Gordhan won’t be present during the debate.
Gordhan’s absence will be the first time in the history of South Africa’s democracy that the finance minister won’t be present when parties debate the fiscal framework which he presented to them.
However, the chairperson of Parliament’s standing committee on finance, Yunus Carrim says the finance minister’s absence is based on exceptional circumstances.
Finance Minister Gordhan went on a foreign mission to meet with investors and ratings agencies. The aim of these meetings would be to spread his budget message and try and stop rating agencies from downgrading South Africa to junk status.
“It’s not as if the minister chose by whim not to be here, he’s got a very competent deputy minister who can well handle the issues in the house and I think this once again betrays the DA’s complete lack of commitment to some sort of national interest, notwithstanding our huge differences on economic and other policies.”
Carrim says the law imposes tight lines for Parliament to deal with the budget and that postponing today’s debate is out of the question.
The DA’s David Maynier says, “It’s completely unacceptable for the minister not to be here for a budget debate in Parliament, and so we’ve asked for the debate to be postponed until next week so the minister can be present.”