EFF’s disruption of SONA against Parliament rules

BY CHARL BOSCH - JANUARY 15, 2015

National Assembly Secretary, Masibulele Xaso, has said that threats made by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to disrupt President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation (SONA) address next month, violates the rules of Parliament.

Speaking to The Citizen at a media workshop on Wednesday, Xaso admitted that rules preventing MP’s from putting questions to the president during his speech were relaxed, but that the implementation of Parliament’s rule 13, would only allow for MP’s to speak or pose questions when granted permission by the presiding officer.

“The joint sitting is an extraordinary sitting called in terms of the Constitution to enable the president in general to deliver the state-of-the-nation address and no other business is dealt with in that joint sitting.

“There has never been an occasion where there were questions in a joint sitting or points of order [raised],” Xaso told the newspaper, adding that the agreement has become the norm in the running of Parliament.

He also said that MP’s wanting to raise points of order during the president’s opening statement, would have to confine with the matter being discussed or risk being ejected.

“In a sense there will be what you call valid points of order and invalid points of order, so in terms of what point of order may arise or not arise, one will not be able to expand beyond saying that a point of order has to relate of a point of procedure,” said Xaso.

On Tuesday, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete denied a request brought-on by EFF leader Julius Malema last week, for a special questions and answers session to Zuma, after the party announced that they plan on disrupting his SONA speech out of protest for failing to appear in Parliament since the chaotic August 21st sitting.

 

READ MOREMALEMA'S "SPECIAL SITTING" WITHHELD

READ MOREZUMA'S STATE OF THE NATION THREATEND

READ MOREEFF THROWS PARLIAMENT INTO CHAOS