Opposition heckles Ramaphosa amid ‘ceasefire’

2014-11-19 18:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The political detente Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa forged with opposition parties faltered as the ANC accused the DA of reneging on its part of the deal.

Ruling party chief whip Stone Sizani today said the Democratic Alliance had betrayed his office’s trust by pushing ahead with a motion calling for the National Assembly to censure President Jacob Zuma for breaching the rules of the legislature.

“The decision to force through the motion into today’s agenda of the House is in direct violation of the consensus reached by all parties that other processes be held in abeyance to enable a process of engagement amongst parties,” said Sizani.

His office said it had expected DA chief whip John Steenhuisen to persuade his party to shelve the debate in return for a reprieve granted to Economic Freedom Fighters MPs facing expulsion from Parliament.

Steenhuisen denied it had deviated from any agreement, saying of the debate that “it was agreed to stand over today”.

He suggested that it was rather Sizani who had failed to bring around the ANC caucus.

“They asked for 24 hours to engage their caucus and now this?”

Ramaphosa yesterday held crisis talks with opposition parties about last week’s upheaval in Parliament which saw riot police rushed into the National Assembly to remove from the podium a member of the EFF who had called Zuma a thief.

Afterwards, he announced that the parliamentary report finding the EFF MPs guilty of contempt would be held in abeyance as parties looked for political solutions to restore calm and cordiality to Parliament.

This afternoon, as he began answering questions in the National Assembly, Ramaphosa heralded the accord, saying it had been widely welcomed by people in and outside the legislature.

Speaker Baleka Mbete then announced that DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane had withdrawn a question about Zuma’s failure to reply to questions in the chamber.

“Honourable Members, I have been informed that question number 10 has been withdrawn, at the request of the Honourable Leader of the Opposition.”

But the mood soon soured as Ramaphosa had to contend with numerous interjections from opposition parties as he proceeded to answer a question by IFP MP Sibongile Nkomo on what sanctions he would consider appropriate for ministers who failed parliamentary questions.

“I’m required to stand here and answer questions. I’m not engaging in a debate,” he said impatiently.

“This is precisely what we sought to address yesterday [Tuesday]. That members of the executive ought to be given an opportunity to answer questions. And they must do so in a climate that enables them to answer questions.”

Complaining that he was being heckled, Ramaphosa said the opposition’s conduct filled him “with great regret” as it undermined the accord reached with party leaders.

“What it means is that what we struck yesterday, does not hold. It doesn’t hold. If I was engaged in a debate, I could understand heckling and interjections. I have been asked to come here and answer questions.

“If I am impeded... to answer those questions... then what is the point of having me here?”

He warned that the agreement struck with opposition leaders was “in my view, about to lie in tatters”.

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.

24.com 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 24.com 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.