Violent disruptions in Parliament undermine executive's ability to account - Ramaphosa

2016-06-01 12:09

Cape Town – The recent violent disruptions in Parliament were a "grave cause for concern" and had undermined the executive’s ability to account, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The efforts of a small minority of MPs to impose, through force and intimidation, their will on Parliament reflects a contempt for the principles of democracy," he said.

Ramaphosa was commenting on the current situation in Parliament, where EFF MPs have disrupted several National Assembly sittings this year because they did not want President Jacob Zuma to speak. Each time, Parliament’s protection services have forcefully ejected them from the House.

"Of particular concern, is the violent nature of some of these disruptions," he said.

Refusal to adhere to the National Assembly's rules undermined the institution "and demonstrates disdain for the will of the people". 

Ramaphosa said the EFF's actions were denying others the opportunity to express themselves, and undermining the executive’s ability to account, "particularly by efforts to prevent President Jacob Zuma from addressing the House".

Cabinet called on all parties to work together to ensure rules and procedures were applied consistently, fairly and without fear, favour or prejudice. 

The executive was committed to ensuring Parliament was a forum for all national debates between political parties, he said.

"We will continue to seek to resolve differences and problems through dialogue and collaboration, in the spirit of our Constitution and in keeping with our democratic traditions," Ramaphosa said. 

In May, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi defended the party’s behaviour in Parliament. They had never made a secret of the fact that they did not want Zuma to be allowed to speak, he said.

"We do this because we believe in the principles that we represented in the Constitutional Court and that we defended each time Zuma came to Parliament. We remain principled and we shall continue to be consistent in application of that principle," he said at the time.

 

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