Modise seeks answers on Sona cellphone jamming

2015-02-14 09:02

The Secretary of Parliament has been asked to investigate the jamming of cellphones and the faulty microphone during the eighth state-of-the-nation address by President Jacob Zuma.

“What occurred today should never again be allowed to occur,” said National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise yesterday.

Modise and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete requested Secretary Gengezi Mgidlana to look into what happened.

The microphone at the podium malfunctioned for a short while at the start of the proceedings and address by Zuma.

On Thursday night, around 25 journalists launched a protest in the press gallery of the National Assembly because they did not have cellphone reception to file their stories.

“Bring back the signal, bring back the signal,” they chanted, waving their cellphones at an electronic black box which was believed to be a jamming device.

Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters MPs joined in the chanting from their seats below, also holding up their cellphones.

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen – supported by the EFF and Freedom Front Plus – rose on a “rule of order” to submit that the jamming was “in direct violation of the... Constitution”.

Mbete said she would make sure the Secretary of Parliament looked into the issue.

Yesterday, Parliament said the organisation of the event in the main proceeded well, and was hosted in the context of a number of challenges.

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