- Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu did not appear before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Tourism after she was summoned to appear.
- Sisulu was summoned to appear before the committee after previous requests for her to appear were ignored.
- The minister said she respected the committee’s work but was seeking legal advice on the subpoena.
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s decision not to appear before Parliament despite being subpoenaed may land her in trouble.
Parliament’s Tourism Portfolio Committee plans to ask National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to sanction Sisulu after she failed to appear before the committee to account for her ministerial portfolio.
Tourism committee member Manny de Freitas, a DA deputy, said Sisulu had been sent numerous requests to appear before the committee, but she did not appear and never sent an apology.
The committee then sent him a summons to appear this week, but instead of appearing, he sent a legal representative.
Sisulu confirmed on Wednesday that the committee had ordered her to appear before him, but she did not attend.
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She said she was seeking legal advice on the subpoena issued.
He added that he respected the work of the committee.
The minister’s spokesman, Steve Motale, said in a statement on Wednesday: “Minister Sisulu wishes to place on record that she respects the portfolio committee in its role as an extension of Parliament to exercise oversight.
“The minister has always supported the committee’s mandate and work and will continue to do so. Therefore, she considers the current developments unfortunate and unnecessary,” Motale said.
In response to the portfolio committee’s decision to invoke legal avenue, Minister Sisulu has received legal advice and is challenging the committee’s decision to issue subpoenas and subsequent proceedings related to it. Consequently, the minister cannot respond to any matter related to the summons as the matter is sub judice.
According to the rules of the National Assembly, the committee is empowered to summon any person to appear before it to testify under oath or to produce documents.
The prosecutor said that if Sisulu was not interested in serving as a minister and carrying out her accounting responsibilities, she should resign.
The party said ignoring a citation could amount to a criminal act and could result in a fine or 12 months in jail.
“The situation is unprecedented as Sisulu’s failure to attend the committee meeting constitutes a criminal act,” De Freitas said, adding that a letter would be sent to the speaker requesting that Sisulu be held accountable for not responding to the summons and attend the portfolio committee meeting.
News24 received no comment from Tourism Portfolio Committee Chairman Tandi Mahambehlala.