SONA Drama Part 10: Speaker dragging her feet - Steenhuisen

BY CHARL BOSCH - FEBRUARY 23, 2015

Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, has accused National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete of delaying the inquiry into the blocking of cellphone signals during President Jacob Zuma State of the Nation Address (SONA) on February 12th.

Writing in a statement on the party’s website, Steenhuisen said the involvement of State Security during the SONA was a “serious infringement of Parliament’s independence” and that the constant postponing was a clear indication that the matter was not viewed as a priority.

“The Speaker’s stalling tactics have only highlighted her inability to preside objectively over Parliament, and are no doubt an attempt to protect herself and the Executive from being held accountable for this violation,” said Steenhuisen.

“Considering the grave implications of this matter for Parliament’s independence, the unconstitutionality of what took place, and the Speaker’s own entanglement, this debate should be at the top of Parliament’s list of priorities,” he said, adding that the would write to Mbete asking for a response.

Meanwhile, CityPress reports that certain ANC MP’s had put the blame for the incident on Mbete and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chairperson, Thandi Modise, for not paying attention and allowing the presidential security to work with intelligence agencies.

The paper alleges that both were severely criticised during the party’s caucus meeting last Thursday and that neither could offer ‘n valid reason for the jamming or who authorised it. MP’s also rejected the security cluster’s claims that a low-flying plane had been present over Parliament and that those responsible should apologise and explain to the media.

 

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