New National Assembly rules approved

2016-05-26 18:39
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – MPs approved new rules for the National Assembly on Thursday.

A total of 211 MPs voted in their favour, and 61 against. The rules would come into effect on Friday and were intended to strengthen security and provide dress code guideless.

During the review, parties had raised concerns about what some called the EFF’s “unacceptable behaviour”. 

The party’s MPs threw hard hats, water bottles and punches when Parliament’s protection services evicted them last Tuesday when they tried to stop President Jacob Zuma from speaking.

Meaningful debate

Rules subcommittee chairperson Richard Mdakane said the new rules would allow all Members of Parliament to do their work and hold the executive to account.

“Without rules, it will be difficult to engage in any meaningful debate in this chamber,” he said.

He insisted that all parties had had sufficient time to be part of the review process.

The DA had failed to lead in the matter, after the party walkout out of the rules committee on Tuesday, he said. 

“Over view is that the rules we are presenting today are sufficient and important and will assist us to work in manner that will deepen democracy,” he said.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said rules were essential for human interactions and created a framework for conducting business. 

This was the first time a comprehensive review had been undertaken, and it was a milestone they should all be proud of.

Strike a balance

Following the adoption of the rules, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said the rules had been strengthened to strike a balance between control and democracy.

“The decorum of the House has been enhanced with the rules now requiring the rules committee to prepare guidelines on dress code,” he said in a statement.

These guidelines were aimed at excluding attire considered unbecoming of the decorum of the House and any attire that posed potential harm to other members, he said.

Read more on:    jackson mthembu  |  baleka mbete  |  parliament 2016

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