Parties positive about restoring Parliament's image

2016-04-13 15:50
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – Can Parliament's credibility be restored? Political parties seem to think so.

Party leaders on Wednesday were cautiously positive about working to restore the credibility of Parliament, following a closed meeting between National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and presiding officers on Wednesday.

The meeting was called to discuss the recent Constitutional Court judgment, which questioned Parliament's handling of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's Nkandla report.

The court also found that President Jacob Zuma had failed to uphold and respect the Constitution by not complying with Madonsela's remedial action regarding payment for the non-security upgrades to his private Nkandla home.

Political party leaders said the meeting had gone well, and the issue had been referred to the Constitutional Review and Rules committees in Parliament.

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said the meeting was a baby step towards "fixing Parliament".

"Parliament’s credibility was lying in tatters on the floor of the Constitutional Court and the only thing that is going to fix it is fundamental institutional reform of Parliament itself," he said.

He said the most positive thing that had come out of the meeting was that all parties agreed that Parliament's credibility has been seriously violated.

There was broad consensus that the status quo could not continue, he said.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu said the party had called for the immediate amendment of the Powers and Privileges Act, among other steps.

He said they had also called for the speedy implementation of the judgment.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu said he was upbeat and optimistic about the meeting.

IFP Chief Whip Narend Singh said all parties had agreed that the Parliament's credibility had been dented, but that they have agreed on continuous engagement.

The NFP's Nhlanhla Khubisa said this would give them an opportunity to restore the dignity of Parliament.

'Expected more'

Reverend Kenneth Moshoeshoe, of the ACDP, said he expected more from the meeting, especially on when the president would be reprimanding the Cabinet ministers who had been singled out by the court judgment.

The AIC said they were happy with the meeting because it gave direction "on the dilemma faced by Parliament".

Mbete said the meeting was constructive, and there was a positive spirit.

"We agreed on a couple of things. The main one was the area of the erosion of the image and credibility of Parliament, which is one that is of concern to us. It is something that has been facing us as the fifth Parliament for some time."

She said she would look at the various proposals by parties on the way forward.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  baleka mbete  |  cape town  |  politics  |  parliament 2016

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