Zuma will answer parly questions in March

2015-01-21 13:32

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President Jacob Zuma will answer oral questions in the National Assembly on March 11, almost a month after delivering his state of the nation address on February 12.

City Press can reveal that the presidency informed Parliament this morning that Zuma would be available in March to respond to questions in the National Assembly.

This ends an almost five-month stand-off between Parliament, the presidency and opposition parties.

City Press has seen the communiqué from the presidency in this regard.

The one-line email, which is addressed to the secretary of the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso, reads: “This email serves to advise Parliament that the president will be available to respond to oral questions on March 11 2015, in the National Assembly.”

President Zuma last appeared in Parliament in ­August, when his question-and-answer session was ­interrupted by Economic Freedom Fighters MPs, who shouted “pay back the money”, a reference to findings of the Public Protector that Zuma was ­liable for all nonsecurity upgrades at his home in Nkandla.

Earlier this month, EFF leader Julius Malema wrote to the speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, asking her to convene a special sitting of the assembly before Zuma’s state of the nation address on February 12, to enable him to answer oral questions.

Malema warned in the letter that should his request be ignored, his party would have no choice but to use the state of the nation address to demand answers from the president.

If the EFF carries out its threat, it would be the first time since 1994 that a sitting president’s state of the nation speech is disrupted.

Mbete declined the request, saying it was not necessary to convene a special sitting as her office.

Zuma’s return to answer oral questions in the National Assembly will end a campaign by opposition parties who have been trying to get him back to Parliament to ­answer a number of questions posed by MPs, specifically on the Nkandla matter.

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