Mbete should not preside over Zuma Q&A session – DA

2016-11-22 16:47
John Steenhuisen (Netwerk24)

John Steenhuisen (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen has criticised Speaker of the House Baleka Mbete, saying she should not preside over proceedings when President Jacob Zuma answers questions in Parliament on Wednesday.

Steenhuisen sent a statement on Tuesday after the DA left a joint sitting of Parliament debating 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children.

He said the sitting had “degenerated into farce” as a result of her alleged bias and “inexcusable ignorance".

“In today’s joint sitting, a reference to 'JZ783' by DA MP Denise Robinson prompted a point of order by a pliant and sycophantic member of the presidential defence league, occupying the ANC benches.

“The member concerning relied on Rule 14P of the Joint Rules of Parliament which states that '[n]o member shall use offensive or unbecoming language'.

“Mbete subsequently told Robinson to leave the podium and the House for ‘casting aspersions on the Honourable the President’."

He said Mbete acted erroneously and refused to listen to him when he tried to explain that she had applied the rules incorrectly.

“It is simply inexplicable to me how the words “JZ783”, which relate to the President and the public fact that he currently faces 783 charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering, could be deemed as 'offensive or unbecoming language'."

He said Parliament could not have Mbete preside over another oral question and answer session to the president.

‘JZ 783’

The DA left the sitting on Tuesday after DA MP Denise Robinson was asked to leave for referring to President Jacob Zuma as "JZ 783", News24 reported.

READ: DA walks out of gender violence debate over 'JZ 783' comment

In her speech, Robinson made reference to former ANCYL branch leader Patrick Wisani’s murder conviction on Monday.

Wisani was found guilty by the High Court in Randburg of sjambokking his girlfriend Nosipho Mandeleleni to death at their home in Yeoville, Johannesburg in 2015.

Robinson said Wisani’s case was evidence of the ruling party’s attitude toward women, and that his comments during the trial were concerning.

READ: Former ANCYL leader found guilty of sjambokking girlfriend to death

She said Wisani was “perhaps just following the example of his leader, JZ 783” in his blasé attitude toward his charges.

“One can’t help remembering ‘Khwezi’, and the fate she suffered," Robinson said, referring to Zuma's 2006 rape accuser, Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo.

African National Congress MP Bhekizizwe Radebe objected to Robinson’s remarks on the grounds of “offensive language".

Mbete asked Robinson to withdraw the "JZ 783" comment, and when she refused, she was asked to leave the House.

“Honourable Speaker, I’m confused. What is derogatory about saying ‘JZ 783’?” Robinson asked.

Mbete said she was "casting aspersions" on the President.

Steenhuisen said he would consider taking Mbete to court over the ruling.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  baleka mbete  |  politics

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