Parliament chief whips meet ahead of State of the Nation debate

2015-02-16 15:43
(Rodger Bosch, AP, Pool)

(Rodger Bosch, AP, Pool)

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Cape Town - Parliament's multi-party chief whips' forum was expected to meet on Monday afternoon ahead of what is expected to be a tense debate on President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address, starting on Tuesday.

Following last week's unprecedented disruption of Zuma's address, opposition parties suspect the meeting will lay the ground rules for Tuesday's debate.

"It's very unusual for it [forum meeting] to be happening on a Monday. It usually happens on a Wednesday and I would be very surprised if we are not going to discuss the events of last Thursday," said DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu was not available to comment on whether his party would attend the meeting.

The meeting follows the protest and violence which overshadowed Zuma's address on Thursday night when the EFF carried out its threat to confront him on misspending on his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

After security officers had dragged EFF MPs out of the chamber, the DA walked out and accused the ANC of becoming as oppressive as the apartheid regime.

The DA and EFF were consulting their lawyers in a bid to possibly bring a legal challenge against the use of police in the chamber.

The jamming of the cellphone signal inside the House was also expected to be discussed at Monday's meeting.

Both the DA and FF Plus raised a point of order prior to Zuma taking the podium on Thursday.

They accused Parliament of scrambling the cellphone reception in the Assembly, preventing journalists from broadcasting directly from the Chamber.

At the time, Mbete said she would ask her office to inquire about the blackout, which had seen journalists wave their cellphones in the air before the joint sitting began, chanting "bring back the signal".

Minutes later, Mbete announced that "the scrambling problem has been unscrambled" and the cellphone signal was restored.

Read more on:    da  |  ff plus  |  anc  |  eff  |  jacob zuma  |  john steenhuisen  |  cape town  |  state of the nation 2015  |  parliament 2015  |  politics

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