New parly rules unlikely before Sona

2015-02-01 19:06
EFF leader Julius Malema. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

EFF leader Julius Malema. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

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Cape Town - It is highly unlikely that new parliamentary rules aimed at preventing Economic Freedom Fighters MPs from interrupting President Jacob Zuma during next week's state-of-the-nation address will be introduced in time.

"It's impossible to introduce them now," Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuizen told Sapa on Sunday, following the cancellation of Friday's scheduled meeting of Parliament's full joint rules committee.

The committee had appeared set to approve new rules preventing MPs from raising points of order or trying to put a question to the president during the Sona.

However, the committee meeting was cancelled late on Thursday.

Zuma is set to start delivering his address to the nation at 19:00 on 12 February. 

Steenhuizen said the African National Congress had been "hell bent" on getting the new rules passed, but Speaker Baleka Mbete had "saw sense in not pushing them through".

To be introduced in time, new rules would have to be adopted by a plenary sitting ahead of the Sona.

Steenhuizen said the only possible "loophole" through which such new rules could be passed would involve Mbete invoking an "unforeseen eventuality" clause.

He noted that rules alone did not necessarily prevent MPs from disrupting proceedings in the House, as had been seen during several sittings of the National Assembly last year.

Mbete's spokesperson, Mandlakazi Sigcawu, on Sunday declined to be quoted on the matter, and referred queries to Parliament's spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs, who was not immediately available.

The City Press on Sunday quoted Sigcawu saying the meeting was cancelled because Mbete felt "it is not a process that should be rushed".

The EFF has threatened to interrupt Zuma during his address.

Read more on:    eff  |  baleka mbete  |  jacob zuma  |  john steenhuisen  |  cape town  |  politics  |  state of the nation 2015

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