Parly peace deal in tatters

2014-11-24 18:43
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (File: Sapa)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - A peace deal brokered by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and opposition parties fell apart on Monday.

"In our meeting today they [opposition parties] wanted to know whether there was a way in which we could give them an explanation," Ramaphosa told reporters following the meeting, which was requested by opposition parties.

"We gave them an explanation that the deal is off."

He said the truce was largely breached by the DA when it tabled a motion of censure against President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly last week.

"[This] departed from the spirit around which the deal was struck and we also said that we must now allow processes in Parliament to unfold."

Ramaphosa said the ANC was open to further meetings with opposition parties in future to discuss matters of interest.

It was important that all political parties worked together when it came to matters of upholding decorum and dignity in the National Assembly and making sure all parties obeyed the rules.

"[We need to] create a climate which is conducive for the executive to come and appear before Parliament and be accountable," Ramaphosa said.

The meeting came after a truce between political parties in Parliament fell apart last week.

On Tuesday last week, Ramaphosa struck a deal with opposition parties that disciplinary proceedings against the EFF would be held in abeyance in return for assurances that they would respect parliamentary rules.

A report by the powers and privileges committee was likely to result in various EFF MPs, including Malema, being suspended from Parliament for up to 30 days for contempt of Parliament. The charges arose from their heckling of Zuma about the Nkandla saga in August.

However, a day after the peace deal was brokered, Parliament again degenerated into insults and obscene gestures when the agreement between the African National Congress and the opposition fell apart.

Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday last week that the report of the powers and privileges committee was back on the agenda.

The move came in retaliation to the DA's insistence on proceeding with a motion accusing Zuma of ducking questions on the R246m security upgrades to his homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

Debate abandoned

On Thursday evening last week, the ANC abandoned the debate in the National Assembly on the report calling for the EFF MPs' suspension.

Ramaphosa issued a statement saying he remained open to further negotiations with political parties to restore calm to Parliament.

Speaking on behalf of the opposition parties on Monday, DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane said the parties were still committed to the principle of the original deal struck.

"It then became quite crystal clear that the ruling party or the African National Congress confirmed to us that the deal is off and they didn't want to be part of the deal," he told reporters.

"It's also clear that we have not gotten further about getting a date for when the president will be coming to Parliament to come and account.

"We always stood up for the deal. The ANC came and said they wanted to withdraw."

Opposition parties in attendance included the DA, the EFF, the IFP, the National Freedom Party, the Freedom Front Plus, the African Christian Democratic Party, the United Democratic Movement, the Pan Africanist Congress and the Congress of the People.

Earlier on Monday, ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe said Zuma had appeared in Parliament five times since the May general elections.

Opposition parties disputed this saying he had not come to account for issues such as the security upgrades to his private home in Nkandla.

EFF leader Julius Malema accused the ANC of contradicting itself.

Maimane said the opposition parties would now allow Parliamentary proceedings to take place in terms of the power and privileges report but they still felt there were procedural challenges.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the parties also wanted the events of November 12, when riot police entered the House and forcibly removed a EFF MP, investigated.

"We are going to insist on that, we not going to allow any amnesia to be applied to this instance," he said.

FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said the ANC was of the view that Parliament belonged to the ruling party.

"It's not the ANC's Parliament, it's the people's Parliament.

"If they think they can run it on their own they are in for a surprise."

He said without the opposition there was no Parliament.

Read more on:    da  |  ff plus  |  anc  |  udm  |  eff  |  bantu holomisa  |  mmusi maimane  |  gwede mantashe  |  julius malema  |  pieter mulder  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  parliament 2014  |  politics

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