ANC MP Bongani Bongo chairs the portfolio committee on home affairs which was thrown into disarray when he failed to appear on Tuesday morning.
PARLIAMENT – Key parliamentary offices on Tuesday said they were not informed of any decision regarding the ANC MP Bongani Bongo after his absence from a home affairs committee following the governing party’s announcement that all members facing serious criminal charges must step aside from their positions.
Speaker Thandi Modise’s office had not been informed of a decision by Bongo to step aside or take leave, its spokesman said.
“There is nothing before us as we speak. So at this stage it is still an internal matter of the ANC, it has not come to Parliament yet,” said Moloto Mothapo.
Bongo chairs the portfolio committee on home affairs which was thrown into disarray when he failed to appear on Tuesday morning.
He was arrested last year by elite police unit the Hawks on charges of corruption relating to an alleged attempt to bribe the evidence leader in a parliamentary inquiry into graft at Eskom.
Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara alleged that Bongo, who was minister of state security at the time, offered him a blank cheque to compromise the inquiry that focused on the state capture scandal at the state-owned power utility and heard sensational evidence embroiling senior managers, board members and ruling party politicians. Bongo was granted bail of R5,000 last year.
The office of ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina has also not been appraised of any decision on whether he was stepping down from his duties.
Caucus spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota said the decision regarding Bongo’s future lay with the ANC as “Luthuli House is the deploying officer” for ruling party members of Parliament, and so far no communication from Bongo or the party had reached the chief whip.
Kota said the caucus would have to deal with the matter because if a committee chairperson resigned a successor had to be named as soon as possible.
Questions arose about Bongo as word got out at the weekend that the National Executive Committee of the ANC was resolving that party members accused of serious crimes would be asked to relinquish their positions while under investigation or on trial.
On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed: “It has also been decided that cadres of the movement, who are equally charged for corruption or other serious crimes must immediately step aside from all leadership positions in the ANC, legislatures or other government structures.”
Bongo has declined to comment and ANC spokesman Pule Mabe on Monday failed to respond to questions on the matter.
Former eThekwini mayor Zanile Gumede, who is on trial for corruption but was recently sworn in as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, and Andile Lungisa, a mayoral committee member in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro who is appealing a two-year sentence for assault, have been told to leave their positions.