The ANC has removed outspoken MP Makhosi Khoza as the chairperson of Parliament’s Public Service and Administration committee citing an irretrievable breakdown of relations.
This comes just two days after five of her comrades boycotted a meeting she chaired, claiming that they could not be led by someone who had breached the ANC constitution.
In a statement, ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said he received a directive from the organisation to relieve Khoza from her position as chairperson of the portfolio committee owing to “the irretrievable breakdown of relations between herself and ANC members of the committee”.
“The irretrievable breakdown of relations arises from her public utterances preceding the motion of no confidence vote in President Jacob Zuma and her continued public attacks on ANC leadership and members of her ANC caucus who voted against the motion on August 8,” said the statement.
“Comrade Khoza’s continued public attacks have led to her alienating ANC MPs, including those in her committee, resulting in an ill-advised and out-of-line decision to boycott any activity she is involved in. The erosion of trust in her as a chairperson has also led to acrimonious verbal exchanges between her and members of the study group in meetings and on social media.”
Mthembu said the decision to relieve Khoza as chairperson came after numerous failed attempts by the leadership of the organisation to counsel her on her behaviour.
Khoza remains an ANC MP pending the outcomes of disciplinary action taken against her by the organisation.
The ANC will also reconfigure its component in the committee. A source has claimed that the rest of the ANC MPs in the committee will be redeployed to other committees.
The ANC said the disciplinary process against those members of the study group who boycotted the portfolio committee meeting on Tuesday was already under way.
The five MPs wrote to Mthembu on Tuesday and registered “strong objection” to being led by Khoza as the chairperson of the parliamentary committee and member for the ANC study group because they felt she had violated an ANC rule.
“Furthermore, we as the study group members have taken the decision to suspend all study group and portfolio committee meetings until the conduct of Dr M Khoza is addressed,” they wrote.
The five MPs – Mervyn Dirks, Sizani Dlamini-Dubazana, Regina Lesoma, Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen and Madala Ntombela stayed away from the meeting, which was meant to receive quarterly reports from three state entities that fall under the department of public service and administration.
Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi was also expected to attend the meeting to explain the alleged misuse of public funds by allegedly flying scores of family members and friends to Cape Town for her budget speech at taxpayers’ expense as well as this week’s revelations that she was hiring family, friends and neighbours without advertising the positions in her ministry.
Muthambi was also a no-show at the parliamentary committee meeting, and did not even bother to tender an apology for her absence. This was despite attending a meeting of the ANC’s study group in the Parliamentary precinct a few hours earlier.
Despite Khoza, one other ANC MP, Nyami Booi attended the meeting, and his presence alongside Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters and Inkatha Freedom Party MPs gave the 11-member committee a quorum, meaning that it could proceed with its work despite the absence of the ANC MPs.
Khoza’s demotion will mean a salary cut of about R325 000 per annum. Portfolio committee chairpersons earn R1 358 399 per year while ordinary MPs draw R1 033 438 over the same period.