Johannesburg – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party in Gauteng on Tuesday said it “vehemently rejects” the requirement for Members of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (MPLs) to swear an oath of secrecy.
The EFF in Gauteng said it “vehemently rejects the unethical requirement for MPLs in the Standing Committee On Public Accounts (SCOPA) to swear an oath of secrecy before executing their duties”.
The EFF added: “This follows the communication from Mr. Matome Chiloane demanding MPLs to be sworn into secrecy before relevant documentation can be arranged”.
The oath of secrecy proposal was made by the SCOPA Chairperson Sochayile Khanyile ahead of the meeting scheduled for today.
The EFF explained that the role of SCOPA was to exercise oversight over the Provincial and Local government on behalf of the Provincial Legislature in order to ensure there was accountability in how public funds were used to guard against wasteful, unauthorised, irregular, and fruitless expenditure.
“This committee is meant to guard against corruption, it is a watchdog over how taxpayers’ money is utilized by the members of the executive,” said the EFF.
The information provided to the committee is eventually consolidated and made available to the Auditor-General who makes findings and publishes the reports as per Section 188 of the Constitution.
“The duty of this committee is therefore not only to prevent corruption and misuse of public funds, but it is also to correct and expose such corruption and misuse where it has occurred,” said the EFF.
“The proposal for MPLs to sign an oath of secrecy is an attempt to classify information that is otherwise meant for public consumption, it restricts the free flow of information and portrays an image of public representatives who are sworn enemies of openness, accountability, transparency, and anti-corruption.”
The EFF said the Provincial Legislature is a house of the people, and members are representatives of the constituency which elected them, they listen, speak, and act on behalf of the people to which they are fully accountable.
“To force them to swear an oath of secrecy is to prevent them from accounting to the public and to gag them from exposing what could be wrongful or criminal activities that the public deserves to know,” said the EFF.
“The EFF believes that the oath taken by members when they were sworn in the first time is sufficient enough to allow them to execute their duties with the integrity expected of them.
“Any other proposal beyond this should be received with suspicion.”
The EFF said it “rejects this attempt by the Chairperson of SCOPA Sochayile Khanyile, to mask corruption of African National Congress leaders and their cronies”.
The EFF added: “This is an attempt to render such a crucial institution powerless and incapable of holding the executive to account.
“We also call on the chairperson of SCOPA, Sochayile Khanyile, to desist from such unethical conduct and withdraw the proposal with immediate effect and that the meeting for today be rescheduled to a date when this would have been resolved.”