Maimane: We don't recognise Mbete as Speaker

2014-11-14 14:50

The DA will no longer recognise National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, the party's parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said on Friday.

Briefing the media at Parliament the morning after a raucous sitting of the House culminated in fisticuffs and scuffles, he said what happened had prompted a "fundamental change" in the Democratic Alliance's approach to the institution.

"[Speaker] Baleka Mbete lost control of the House and destroyed her credibility as Speaker. Accordingly, we will cease to recognise her authority as Speaker."

Every time Mbete presided over the House, "the DA will send only its Chief Whip, its deputy Chief Whip, and those members participating in the debate itself".

Maimane said he had written to the leader of government business, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, asking that he support the passing of a motion of no confidence in Mbete, and that Parliament elect a new Speaker.

He had further called on Ramaphosa to take other steps to restore order in the House, including "that he supports the election of a member of the opposition as one of the presiding officers to restore objectivity in the position".

Referring to the events of last night, which saw riot police entering the House, he said Ramaphosa should also take steps to ensure that this never happened again.

"We call for an Ipid [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] inquiry into the use of riot police in Parliament on August 21 and November 13."

Responding to questions, he confirmed that four DA MPs were injured after scuffles with police in the Chamber.

"Our members were assaulted by police... [when they] acted to defend the Constitution and their colleagues."

He said the injured had all been examined by a doctor and "some ordered to rest".

Pandemonium broke out in the House shortly after 2pm yesterday - ahead of a debate on the African National Congress ad hoc committee's report on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's residence at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal - when Mbete announced she was limiting the period for motions by members to 45 minutes.

She said this was being done in the interests of saving time.

After a half-hour period of shouts, howls of protest and strong language from opposition benches, she reversed her decision.

Opposition parties then filibustered, spending the next two hours moving a stream of motions.

Defending this action yesterday, Maimane said it "did not break a single rule".

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said Mbete - whom he described as "the woman masquerading as the Speaker of Parliament" - was ultimately responsible for setting the tone of the debate.

"When she started... trying to shut down the opposition filibustering, she abused her position.

"She had no right to do so. She did so for one reason only - to carry on the mandate from Luthuli House, which is to protect President Zuma and to protect the ANC at all costs, even if that means compromising her position."

Steenhuisen said he was angry about the events of yesterday evening.

"I am very angry about the presence of armed police personnel on the sacred place of the floor of Parliament. I am very angry members of my party got assaulted yesterday evening, and it's up to Parliament to do something about it. We cannot continue in this vein.

"Those police must never, ever, ever again be allowed to set foot into that sacred Chamber." Steenhuisen said it was absolutely clear that Mbete was not a suitable Speaker.

"Her position in the ANC compromises her to the extent that she puts the interests of her party ahead of the interests of Parliament as an institution."

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.