Opposition parties shun premier

2016-03-09 06:00
OPPOSITION parties refuse to sit during the house sitting. Photo: Boipelo Mere

OPPOSITION parties refuse to sit during the house sitting. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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OPPOSITION parties, the DA and Cope, shunned premier Sylvia Lucas’ response to their debate after they were overruled by the speaker, Kenny Mmoiemang, on Tuesday (01/03).

The commotion happened during the second part of the house sitting scheduled for 14:15, when the DA raised their distress around the signing of a new register and allowed the premier to render her reply to their debate on the state of the province address that was tabled earlier the day at 10:00.

The parties were questioning the need to sign a new attendance register during the second part of the house sitting, which was on the same day.

“Why is there a need to sign two separate attendance registers and why was the business of the day printed on two separate order papers? The speaker has painted himself into a corner with his twisted logic,” said Andrew Louw, the leader of the DA in the legislature, when he emphasised that the two house sittings were one session. Mmoiemang subsequently made a ruling not to continue with any further interjections in the form of motions raised to the house, so as to allow the business of the day to proceed with no further delay, as the time allocated was exhausted.

The EFF members were absent from the premier’s reply and it was revealed by the speaker’s office that they did not submit an apology.

According to Mpho Masina, the media liaison officer at the office of the speaker, the signing of the attendance register is merely for administrative record-keeping purposes and to monitor which members are present.

All 30 members of the legislature are expected to be present at house sittings, unless an apology was issued to the speaker.

Louw was removed from the house sitting by the speaker and was followed by the only member of Cope, Pakes Dikgetsi, in solidarity.

However, the DA and Cope then sang a different tune and said it was not just about the new register.

According to them, their actions were due to their refusal to accept the biased rulings from the speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature and accused him of acting more like the chairperson of the ANC than a professional presiding officer.

“The speaker made a u-turn and gave the assurance that members would be allowed to table motions without notice once the house sitting in the afternoon began.

“Once the house was in session, however, the speaker again went back on his word and said that no motions would be accepted, as the afternoon’s session was a continuation of the morning’s session,” said Louw.

The speaker argued that he is well within the confines of the standing rules that govern the legislature proceedings and quoted rule 131 of the standing rules, which states that a reply shall be allowed to the member introducing a subject for discussion or to the member in charge of an order of the day.

“The reply to the debate is conducted in accordance with rule 132, which states that ‘a reply to a debate closes the debate.’

“The house sitting of the reply is just a continuation of the debate house sitting held earlier in the day.”

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