'What a joke': Steenhuisen fires back at Thandi Modise for MP comments

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has hit out at National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise for her comments regarding MP's. Steenhuisen took to Twitter labelling it as "farcical hypocrisy". 

Modise, in a nutshell, said MP's should be challenging the executive in Parliament at all costs in order to fulfil their mandate and protect the public outside the walls of the National Assembly. Steenhuisen argues that the executive is always protected.


Modise, during a Standing Committee on Financial Management on Tuesday 28 July, said the capacity of MP's should be "sharpened".

"We were worried that over the years, the sharpness of the individual MPs, the ability of the individual MP to stand on the floor of the house or take space at the committee to ask those 'unpleasant' or 'sharp' questions to the executive, we thought was going softer," she said. 

Modise said the MP's capacity is to represent the people. 

"That is what some of us believe, for what some of us will always fight for. We want MP's who know their stories, who over the five years, have so much capacity that they become experts in their own fields," she said. 

"Pin us down when you don't agree [or] you have issues. With a member of Parliament, no question is ever unimportant or wrong. A member of Parliament must put questions to us. We are there to ensure the people of South Africa are protected," added Modise. 

Steenhuisen then took to Twitter, claiming her comments were unfathomable. 

"What a joke! When this is done the presiding officers actively protect the executive and cosset them from answering the tough questions. Haven't read such farcical hypocrisy in a while," he said. 

Modise went on: "Our first focus was, how do you capacitate the MP? For us, the capacity of the MP is supported by the capacity that is found in Parliament and, therefore, the whole of the administration is solely there to help the MP to be able to focus on their job. So [the] administration's capacity is about empowering the MP."


Modise said now that a command centre on the issues of COVID -19 has been established, it is important that decisions and resources are deployed in accordance with the law and constitution and for the protection of South Africans. 

"We agreed that we would prioritise, firstly, the committees whose ministers were directly involved in the command centre work so it is absolutely untrue that Parliament has not been working," she said. 

"If there is that perception, then people should ask us," she added.