Ramaphosa misrepresented accord: Maimane

By Drum Digital
21 November 2014

Parliamentary opposition leader Mmusi Maimane on Friday accused Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of misrepresenting undertakings given at a crisis meeting to mend fences between the ruling party and the opposition in Parliament.

Maimane maintained that he did not pledge that the Democratic Alliance would withdraw a motion in the National Assembly calling for President Jacob Zuma to be censured for failing to appear in the Chamber four times a year to answer MPs' questions.

He said he had merely committed the party to the establishment of a working group that would include opposition leaders, the African National Congress chief whip and the deputy president to discuss the current tensions in Parliament.

"At no point did I agree to the alteration of the business of Parliament, and at no point was altering the business of Parliament discussed," he said.

"What was agreed upon during the Tuynhuys meeting was that the motion on the report of the powers and privileges committee will be held in abeyance, and that leaders of political parties will again meet with the deputy president, next week.

"However, I vehemently reject any attempt by the deputy president to negotiate the business of Parliament, and I vehemently reject the misconception that this was the subject of Tuesday's meeting. "

"The DA put a motion of censure against President Zuma on the Order Paper because this fact alone has caused a constitutional crisis and this cannot go unchecked."

The ANC cried foul on Wednesday after the DA insisted on proceeding with the motion, and in the ensuing debate senior ruling party members portrayed Maimane as lacking the support of his party.

In retaliation, the ruling party put a report calling for the suspension of Economic Freedom Fighters MPs from Parliament back on the National Assembly's agenda for Thursday.

Ramaphosa had announced after his meeting with opposition leaders on Tuesday that the report would be held "in abeyance" while political parties sought to resolve tensions that reached breaking point last week, resulting in riot police being ordered into the Parliament to remove an EFF MP.

But on Thursday night, the ANC resolved to remove the report from the agenda, and to revive talks with the opposition.

Ramaphosa's spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa declined to comment on Maimane's claim on Friday, saying only that the deputy president planned to meet with opposition leaders again next week.

"The deputy president has invited parliamentary leaders to a follow-up meeting next week. He won't make any further comment until after the meeting."

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