Declining standards of Parliament shameful - ANC

BY CHARL BOSCH - FEBRUARY 17, 2016

The African National Congress (ANC) has slammed the deteriorating standards of Parliament following various disruptions during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week.

In a near repeat of last year’s chaotic sitting, members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) left the House mid-way through the President’s speech, while chanting “Zupta Must Fall” in reference to Zuma’s close connection with the controversial government connected Gupta family.

“This man who is speaking here is the same who has said that he has breached the oath of office. Therefore we refuse to show respect to a President who does not respect his oath of office,” EFF leader Julius Malema said outside Parliament.

“As a legitimate leader of a legitimate party elected by the people, we cannot agree to be addressed by a criminal who has admitted to being a thug and stolen money. [President Zuma] is not fit for the office of the President”.

Shortly before the EFF’s departure, Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosiuoa Lekota led his party out of the chamber, after accusing Zuma of having broken his oath of office by admitting to have benefited from the R246-million security upgrades at Nkandla.

Speaking in a statement, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said Parliamentary values had been in decline since the EFF became part of the National Assembly two years ago.

“Historically, debates on the State of the Nation Address are festivals of ideas and exchange of superior rational arguments on key issues confronting the nation as highlighted by the sitting President,” Kodwa said.

“With the arrival of the EFF, Parliament’s image has been desecrated through attention-seeking disruptions, profane posturing and downright disrespectful conduct to the institution, fellow parliamentarians and the public whose aspirations rest on the shoulders of the institution to better their living conditions”.

He stated that members, who take pleasure from similar interruptions, have no interest in the country, adding that it flies in the face of Parliamentary rules and democracy.

On Tuesday, EFF MP’s walked out of Parliament on the first day of debating Zuma’s SONA, with Malema stating it could no longer take him seriously. The party is not expected to take part in the remainder of the debate.