Editorial: Mr Prez, you must roll with the punches

2016-09-18 06:09
President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma

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"I think it will be unfair not to raise my concern about your House. Each time I come here, I am abused by members of your Parliament, because, instead of answering questions, I sit here being called a criminal, a thief. You are going to make it very difficult for me to fulfil my constitutional obligation.

“Your House must do something. If this House is not interested in me answering questions, you must say so, then don’t call me. I thought I should make that point, it’s very important for me.”

These were President Jacob Zuma’s words after yet another fiery question-and-answer session in the National Assembly this week.

During the course of the session, Zuma was called a criminal and a thief who was neither trustworthy nor honourable.

One MP went as far as saying he found the president “repugnant”.

Answering questions in Parliament – verbally and in written form – is one of the mechanisms the institution devised in order to hold the executive accountable.

Holding the executive to account is a constitutional requirement.

It’s a big deal. And it is one of the areas where the National Assembly was found wanting in the scathing ruling by the Constitutional Court in March this year on the Nkandla  saga.

It was this same judgment that found Zuma had failed to “uphold, defend and respect the Constitution”.

It seems like Zuma does not get that he has no choice when it comes to fulfilling the requirements of the Constitution.

Making idle threats about not fulfilling his constitutional obligations because of name-calling, something he himself dabs in from time to time, is immature and unacceptable.

It is also not the job of the opposition to make Zuma feel comfortable.

In fact, more than 62% of the National Assembly does that for him every time he is in Parliament with their affirming and rhetoric-ridden questions.

Read more on:    national assembly  |  jacob zuma  |  nkandla

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