EFF blames ANC for chaos in Parliament

2014-11-14 08:45
Dan Calderwood, News24

Dan Calderwood, News24

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Chaos in Parliament as DA, EFF try stall Nkandla debate

2014-11-13 17:39

In what seems to be a bid to stall the exoneration of President Zuma of liability for Nkandla spending by Parliament's ad hoc committee, opposition MPs lodged a stream of motions in the National Assembly. Watch.WATCH

Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters blamed the ANC for the chaos that erupted during a sitting in Parliament on Thursday, which saw one of its MPs removed by police.

"The ANC is a cause of disruption because they use Parliament to obstruct accountability of a member of the executive, particularly President [Jacob] Zuma who is constitutionally bound to account to Parliament on a regular basis," spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said on Friday.

On Thursday, opposition parties shouted down National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete when she tried to prevent them bringing dozens of motions. Most of these were related to spending on so-called security upgrades at Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, which Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found Zuma to have unduly benefited from.

Motions

Tempers flared over the hours as African National Congress MPs retaliated by objecting to motions the opposition attempted to bring to delay tabling a report on the upgrades.

Veteran ANC MP Mathole Motshekga, who was pivotal in the ad hoc committee that drafted the report absolving Zuma from responsibility for the alleged abuse of funds at Nkandla, said the opposition was exaggerating Madonsela's findings.

He called Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane "the liar of the century".

He was forced to withdraw the insult, but went on: "There was no evidence in any of the reports that there was any undue influence on the part of the president. On what basis does one link the escalation of the costs with the president? There is no basis to link anything with the president."

It drew howls of protest from opposition parties.

Said Ndlozi: "The presiding officers in Parliament made lots of questionable decisions concerning the rules of Parliament against members of the opposition."

Ndlozi referred to one incident where a DA member was instructed to leave the Assembly chamber, which he refused to obey.

Ndlozi said such an instruction was illegal and in violation of the Constitution.

"Section 58 (1) says that Cabinet members and members of the National Assembly have freedom of speech in the Assembly and in committees, subject to its rules and orders; and [are] not liable to civil or criminal proceedings, arrest, imprisonment or damages for anything that they have said in, produced before or submitted to the Assembly or any of the committees," he said.

Riot police

"The presence of riot police in the National Assembly chamber violates this sacrosanct principle and value of the Constitution."

Members of the police public order policing unit stormed into the National Assembly chamber on Thursday night, causing a scuffle.

The drama unfolded after EFF MP Ngwanamakwetle Mashabela refused to leave the podium when she was ordered to do so by house chairperson Cedric Frolick.

Mashabela called Zuma a "thief" during a debate on the Grand Inga Hydro Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo and refused to withdraw her remarks.

Mashabela would not be moved when sergeant-at-arms Regina Mohlomi tried to escort her from the podium.

Police arrived minutes later tugging at Mashabela - who could be heard shouting "I don't want to be touched".

MPs from opposition benches expressed outrage, and jumped to Mashabela's defence.

Unapologetic

"If the ANC chooses to use the police inside the National Assembly, we will be left with no option, but to develop mechanisms to defend ourselves even in the National Assembly," said Ndlozi.

"The EFF has noticed that the ANC has chosen an approach to undermine democratically elected opposition parties, which according to the Constitution have a right to participate in Parliament not as junior partners, but as legislators and overseers of the state."

Ndlozi assured South Africans that the EFF remained unapologetic and would continue to be a radical voice in Parliament.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  mbuyiseni ndlozi  |  cape town  |  parliament 2014  |  politics

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