Disorder in Parliament: DA & ANC shoulder blame on EFF

BY CHARL BOSCH - JUNE 19, 2015

Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, has lashed out at the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for what he described as “securing victory for President Jacob Zuma” after the party threw Parliament into disarray yesterday without a single question being asked.

Mere seconds after Zuma took the stand, EFF MP Makoti Khawula, rose on a point of order to ask why no mention had been made of the upgrades at the President’s Nkandla home on the Parliamentary agenda.

A war of words about the matter then erupted between the party’s National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, later leading to the involvement of EFF leader Julius Malema and African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip, Stone Sizani.

Following an adjourned for over an hour while Mbete consulted with the various party Chief Whips, the session reconvened but later turned ugly when EFF members began chanting pay back the money after rejecting the question not being answered up front. Proceedings were then suspended despite the chanting continuing.

“The EFF played into the ANC’s hands. Today, the President escaped being held accountable yet again. The EFF’s actions allowed the President to not answer questions on the state’s capture of independent Chapter 9 institutions, the circumstances surrounding the escape of Omar Al-Bashir, slow economic growth and the unemployment crisis,” Steenhuisen said in a statement.

“The issue of the President’s corruption at Nkandla is important to all South Africans. But today’s sitting was neither the time nor the place to raise this issue. The EFF were well aware that the issue of Nkandla was not up for discussion today, but as a result of their obstinate insistence that the matter be discussed the agreed upon programme was unnecessarily delayed and proceedings ultimately adjourned”.

Steenhuisen also stated that the EFF’s dispute with Zuma continues to “obstruct the business of the House” and that a functioning Parliament is needed for the country to work.

“President Zuma must account for the economic crisis as well as his government’s decision to allow a wanted war criminal to evade capture in violation of both domestic and international law,” he said.

“In order for South Africa to reach its potential we need strong institutions and an effective, accountable government. We cannot allow the singular focus of one party to prevent the debate of important issues as they attempt to score political points”.

In a similar reaction, Sizani’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said that the interruption was a clear indication that the party never intended to ask questions but to stage a “publicity stunt through disrupting the House and rendering it dysfunctional”.

“The EFF's pursuance of self-seeking headlines-grabbing stunts knows no bounds, and would stop at nothing even it means rendering unworkable the sanctity and decorum of an important constitutional institution such as Parliament.

“The President was invited by Parliament and he duly made himself available. It is gravely unfortunate that the repugnant conduct of one party prevented him to account to the nation. This has to come to an end,” he said, adding that that ruling party would no longer tolerate “acts of hooliganism”.

 

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