Winners of the 2014 Parliament Awards

2014-12-28 18:00

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Parliament was definitely the news maker of the year in 2014. We said goodbye to the days when MPs were caught napping during sittings of the National Assembly. Depending on who you are, the fifth Parliament has either been robust, a circus or the ultimate soapie.

Even the sleepy Parliament TV channel saw its audience numbers skyrocketing in the past six months. City Press’ parliamentary reporter, Andisiwe Makinana, hands out awards to the stars of this “theatre of the struggle”, as the EFF has dubbed Parliament.

Portfolio Committee of the Year

Communications portfolio committee

The committee was exemplary in holding to account a powerful and politically connected civil servant who had lied about her academic qualifications.

Members set aside their political differences on the Ellen Tshabalala matter and worked together to expose the now former SABC chairperson.

Missing in Action Person of the Year

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

The Mother of the Nation decried the chaos in Parliament in a recent interview with the SABC. But where was she when it was all going down?

You are more likely to find President Jacob Zuma giving satisfactory answers to questions from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) than to see Madikizela-Mandela in Parliament.

Foul-mouthed MP of the Year

Floyd Shivambu

Floyd Shivambu

Shivambu thrives on his bad manners, and journalists continue to be on the receiving end of his brashness and his sharp tongue. But he took his vulgarity to another level when he flipped a bird at Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Shivambu later apologised, but he will have to explain himself to the powers and privileges committee.

Hardest-working MP of the Year

Joan Fubbs and the portfolio committee on trade and industry.

Joan Fubbs

Fubbs, who turned 70 recently, is a tough, straight-talking, hard-working MP who is popular across Parliament’s political-party spectrum.

She presides fairly as chairperson of the trade and industry committee, so fairly that the EFF thinks she is the best person to be the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Farce of the Year

The Nkandla report

The whitewash that is the Nkandla report, as drafted by the ad hoc committee on Nkandla, takes this award hands-down. The less said about it, the better.

Alarmists of the Year

Security cluster ministers

Just days after the overall and gumboot Marxist-Leninist Fanonian brigade demanded that Number 1 pay back the money spent on Nkandla, these ministers moved with lightning speed – going against the doctrine of separation of powers – to order extra police to Parliament, claiming that the incident posed a threat to national security.

Minister of the Year

Edna Molewa

Edna Molewa

It’s a constitutional obligation for members of the executive to account to Parliament, but most of them have been found wanting on this front.

Not so Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa. She has regularly attended meetings of the portfolio committee and must have set a parliamentary record when she attended six consecutive committee meetings earlier this year.

Foot-in-Mouth Award

Mathole Motshekga

Mathole Motshekga

The justice and constitutional development portfolio has always been held in high esteem by the observers of Parliament, but it has lost that status in the fifth Parliament.

This is mainly due to its chairperson, Mathole Motshekga, who has seen every issue that comes before the committee as an opportunity for politicking.

#ThatAwkwardMoment in Parliament

There were many such moments in the fifth Parliament.

EFF MPs arriving in red overalls and domestic worker uniforms to be sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng; National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete refusing to recognise “anybody”; EFF MP Reneilwe Mashabela calling President Zuma a thief and a criminal; and police storming the National Assembly chamber to remove Mashabela.

EFF MP Reneilwe Mashabela (left)

However, EFF MPs chanting “pay back the money” will forever characterise the chaos that has become South Africa’s Parliament.

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