‘Serious threat to Parliament,’ says ANC vet

2014-11-15 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The Nkandla fallout and the disregard for the speaker may yet sink Parliament’s ship.

Reacting to the chaotic scenes Parliament on Thursday, retired ANC veteran Professor Ben Turok said the country’s national executive was sailing on stormy seas, and these two issues could yet prove one storm too many for the national assembly’s continued functioning.

He said it was the first time in the history of Parliament for a member to be removed, adding while that in itself was a sad moment, the question has to be asked: “What drove things to this point and what comes next?”.

“The whole Nkandla debacle is a spark and the president is not willing to admit he was enriched by the improvements to Nkandla and that he has to pay back some of the money.”

Turok said the Nkandla issue has caused a lot of discontent and upheaval, all of which Zuma could easily calm by just admitting he was enriched by the millions spent on his home and by returning some of the money to the state coffers.

He said the ANC’s leadership would have to broker the situation in private, but it would require “statesmanship at the highest level”.

Turok said the rebellion against speaker Baleka Mbete by opposition parties means MPs will stay away from Parliament, which meant there will not be quorums to pass important bills into laws.

“Parliament can reach a deadlock.”

He said it was the first time for opposition parties to pass a vote of no confidence in the speaker. “It has now reached a point where her mere presence is enough to spark resistance.”

He said Parliament could not function like this, adding the speaker and the parties “need to have a serious talk”.

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