A STRATEGIC session for Eastern Cape MECs to thrash out the yearly plans for their departments turned sour yesterday when opposition party MPLs staged a walkout because the MECs failed to turn up.
COPE, DA and UDM MPLs have lashed out at the MECs and premier Noxolo Kiviet for not attending the economic and governance clusters’ strategic planning sessions in Port Elizabeth, which they have deemed "fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.
The workshop was supposed to be held from Tuesday to last night, but the opposition MPLs walked out early yesterday after Local Government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane did not arrive.
Budget and Treasury MEC Phumulo Masualle was also supposed to attend the workshop.
UDM legislature leader Masiza Mhlathi said: "Economic Development MEC Mcebisi Jonas was the only one who turned up and presented his plans for the economic clusters, but MEC Qoboshiyane did not turn up to present on the governance clusters.
"Instead, he sent an official to do the presentation, but how can he do that when he is the one accountable to the legislature?”
DA provincial chief whip Pine Pienaar said: "We can’t debate these plans with ourselves. A lot of money has been spent to set up these strategic meetings, but none of the MECs, except for MEC Jonas, bothered to pitch.
"They did not show any respect for the event.”
COPE MPL Noxolo Ndabeni said it would be useless for MPLs to be briefed on plans by officials instead of political heads, who accounted to the legislature.
Qoboshiyane’s spokesman, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, said: "We categorically reject any insinuation ... that the MEC has low regard [for] the Eastern Cape [parliament].
"The MEC sent his apology last week ... he deployed a [deputy director-general] from his department to make the same cabinet governance cluster presentation he was going to make.”