EFF deal is off – ANC

2014-11-19 21:47

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The ANC has decided to revoke Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reprieve to the Economic Freedom Fighters as a deal to restore calm to Parliament collapsed after a day.

“We will put the powers and privileges committee’s report on the EFF back on the order paper tomorrow,” a well-placed source in the ruling party told Sapa today as the National Assembly slid into discord again.

The move came as retaliation for the Democratic Alliance’s refusal to scrap a motion calling on the chamber to censure President Jacob Zuma for breaching parliamentary rules.

ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani said he had believed the DA would withdraw the motion – sure to lead to a fractious debate – in return for Ramaphosa’s pledge to hold the report finding 20 EFF MPs guilty of misconduct in abeyance.

“The decision to force through the motion into today’s agenda of the House is in direct violation of the consensus reached by all parties that other processes be held in abeyance to enable a process of engagement amongst parties,” Sizani said.

Ramaphosa had eased tensions with the opposition at crisis talks yesterday, after riot police entered the National Assembly last week to forcibly remove an EFF MP who had called Zuma a thief.

But the detente unravelled rapidly.

This afternoon, as a sitting of the assembly kicked off with the deputy president answering MPs’ questions, Ramaphosa became exasperated at constant interjections referring to Zuma’s reluctance to account to MPs on the cost of his Nkandla home.

Ramaphosa said the opposition’s conduct filled him “with great regret” as it undermined the accord reached with party leaders.

“What it means is that what we struck yesterday, does not hold. It doesn’t hold. If I was engaged in a debate, I could understand heckling and interjections. I have been asked to come here and answer questions.

“If I am impeded ... to answer those questions ... then what is the point of having me here?”

He warned that the agreement struck with opposition leaders was “in my view, about to lie in tatters”.

The report from the powers and privileges committee is likely to see EFF MPs, including party leader Julius Malema, suspended from Parliament for up to 30 days for contempt of Parliament.

The charges stemmed from their heckling of Zuma over the Nkandla saga in August.

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