Assessing Effectiveness of Questions for Executive Reply

Questions for Written Reply is an oversight tool that allows MPs to submit written questions to Members of the Executive, seeking information that is usually not readily available elsewhere, to which they must receive a corresponding reply. This tool is widely used, particularly by opposition MPs, but there are shortcomings in its implementation. The focal point of this paper is that many Ministers do not meet the 10-day reply deadline, sometimes answering months later, even though some questions are urgent in nature.
MPs have been calling for better accountability when it comes to answering Written Questions. On 2 September 2021, the National Assembly approved a Mechanism on Delayed Replies to Questions. The system includes the Speaker writing to the defaulting Ministers and the Leader of Government Business quarterly, reporting those Ministers to the Rules Committee, and in the case of continued default, a reprimand from the Speaker in the House. Finally, the Speaker may escalate the matter to the Leader of Government Business as a formal complaint. It was agreed that the National Assembly wait to see the impact of these sanctions before taking more extreme steps.
This paper welcomes the adoption of the monitoring system and suggests three recommendations:
- The need for timely evaluation of the monitoring system – unlike the delay in devising the system
- The provision of a clear definition of ‘reprimand’  
- Conduct a workshop for role players on the Rules and Guidelines on how and to whom they apply

Christiaan Endres

Christiaan Endres


christiaan.endres@kas.de +27 (11) 214 2900-204

Bereitgestellt von

Auslandsbüro Südafrika



Rebecca Sibanda