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DA wants reasons for cancellation of briefing on readiness for elections

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Des van Rooyen needs to account for why he cancelled a news briefing on the government’s readiness for the local government elections scheduled to be held on August 3 this year‚ the Democratic Alliance says.

DA spokesman on cooperative governance and traditional affairs Kevin Mileham charged on Monday that Van Rooyen’s indefinite postponement of the briefing showed that he was trying to dodge questions as to government’s readiness for the elections.

“Given that this is a matter of national importance I will write to Minister van Rooyen requesting that he make public the full reasons for not going ahead with the press conference as scheduled‚” said Mileham.

He said it was well-known that the government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) were under pressure in preparing for the elections.

“The date of voting is already virtually as late as can be constitutionally permitted. The uncertainty over the finalisation of the voters’ roll raises concerns over a potential constitutional crisis if voting does not take place within the prescribed time and with the requisite requirements having been met.

“Appreciating the importance of his department’s pivotal role in the upcoming elections‚ it is inexplicable that Minister van Rooyen has cancelled such an important briefing and indefinitely deferred allaying the South African people’s legitimate concerns about the government’s ability to discharge free and fair elections‚” Mileham stated.

“Instead Minister van Rooyen has chosen to concern himself with protecting himself from uncomfortable questions regarding allegations that broke yesterday that he was in Dubai at the same time the embattled Gupta brothers were shortly after he was appointed as Finance Minister.

“It is clear from the timing of this cancellation that Minister van Rooyen is not interested in answering the queries of concerned voters but rather preoccupied with undue political motives to stave off the public embarrassment from this “Dubai scandal”.

“The DA will be tabling questions this week to ascertain government’s readiness for the coming elections. We will also be tabling questions with regards to the nature of the Minister’s visit to Dubai and who he met with. The country cannot suffer while one individual tries to protect himself from a compromising scandal‚” Mileham added.