Parliament rules review not because of ‘excitement’ or ‘young blood’

2014-09-24 08:22

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The recent “excitement” in Parliament was not the reason why its rules were being reviewed.

National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise told a meeting between the South African National Editors’ Forum and Parliament’s presiding officers in Joburg, yesterday: “It [the review] is not because of the excitement and the young blood, it is because honestly there are rules we need to look at.”

“The review of the rules of the National Council of Provinces, the rules of the National Assembly and the joint rules is something we are doing so that at all times Parliament is alive to current conditions.”

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said the recent disruptions and “drama” in Parliament had not affected the way it did its work.

“The drama is really for your eyes, which is only in the chamber. That is where the drama is confined because that’s where everybody will see what they are doing,” she said.

“Committees continue with their work. The colleagues from those red benches [the Economic Freedom Fighters] are there in all the committees in Parliament ... where a lot of the things they scream about in the house are actually discussed.”

The EFF said yesterday they would go to court to challenge disciplinary charges against 20 MPs stemming from their heckling of President Jacob Zuma to repay state funds spent on his Nkandla home.

This is the second time the EFF has threatened legal action over the threat of expulsion arising from the party’s unprecedented protest in the National Assembly during presidential question time last month.

EFF MPs chanted “pay back the money” after EFF leader Julius Malema asked Zuma when he would heed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation that he reimburse the state for nonsecurity upgrades done to his KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

They ignored a threat from Mbete to have them physically removed from the house and she adjourned the house with the remainder of Zuma’s questions unanswered.

Mbete said on Tuesday that she “lost it” during that session.

“However to reduce the cause of what went on that day to the speaker is to really get it wrong.”

On September 16 opposition leaders walked out of Parliament leaving the ANC to easily defeat a vote of no confidence in Mbete.

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