New bid for truce fails

2014-11-25 00:00

A SECOND attempt by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to get an agreement from opposition parties to maintain the dignity and decorum of Parliament has failed.

Leaders from all the opposition parties left the meeting with Ramaphosa in Johannesburg yesterday saying no agreement had been reached.

DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said the opposition parties only want President Jacob Zuma to answer questions in Parliament. “It is as ­simple as that. We just want a date.”

EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC is looking for a short cut after the political process failed it.

He said Zuma must just show ­accountability before he creates a precedent for ministers, like Lindiwe Sisulu, to also say they will only go to Parliament if they are respected.

Malema said Zuma will not be able to give his next State of the Nation Address before he has answered the previous term’s questions.

Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder said the message the parties got from the meetings with Ramaphosa was that the ANC thinks Parliament belongs to it. “If they think they can run it [Parliament] on their own, they are in for a surprise. They cannot dictate from one side because the chaos that took place over the past two to three weeks is because the ANC tried doing its own thing. It has, however, exploded in their faces.”

Ramaphosa said after the meeting the opposition parties wanted an ­explanation on why last week’s initial agreement had failed.

He blamed the DA for submitting a motion of censure against Zuma ­after agreeing to behave with more dignity in Parliament.

“It was against the spirit of the agreement,” said Ramaphosa.

He said parliamentary processes must now go ahead, adding the ANC was still willing to meet with the opposition parties in future to discuss important issues. He said the aim was to find a solution to maintain decorum in Parliament and create a ­climate in which ministers can be ­accountable and answer questions.

Asked where Zuma was during this time of crisis in Parliament, the ANC’s parliamentary leader Stone ­Sizane said Zuma was willing to ­answer questions, but he was prevented from doing so on August 21.

“The ANC was bound to the agreement, which the DA has shot down. The president wants to answer questions, but they still refuse to allow it.

“They are now even threatening to disrupt the state of the nation ­address. What must we do? Do they expect the president to go on his knees to do it? We don’t think so.”

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