Opposition parties want to rein in EFF

2015-06-28 06:16

The tide turned against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Parliament this week when most opposition parties teamed up with the ANC to restore the dignity of the institution.

Some opposition parties said the EFF had gone too far and had robbed them of the chance to hold the government to account.

The parties are now considering changes to the rules to stop disruptions during sessions, which the EFF is opposing.

This follows last week’s question-and-answer session with President Jacob Zuma, which the EFF again disrupted, chanting that Zuma must pay back the Nkandla money. The session was adjourned without the president answering a single question.

There will not be another time slot to repeat the question-and- answer session and the president’s comments had already been published on Friday. Opposition parties could therefore not immediately ask follow-up questions.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen has warned that the debate in Parliament is no longer robust, but is destructive.

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude said: “Parliament is not just about President Jacob Zuma, but about the people of South Africa. We cannot have one party to say it is our way or nothing.”

FF Plus chief whip Corné Mulder said that by its behaviour, the EFF had isolated itself because it just wanted to do things its way.

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in reply to a question that the tide was never on the side of the EFF and the opposition protests did not bother them.

“We found a Parliament where everybody was comfortable with how things were being done. We brought the revolution to Parliament to transform the institution and to hold the executive to account,” he said.

Ndlozi put much of the blame on Speaker Baleka Mbete for her “bias”, which he said had damaged the credibility of Parliament.

“She is afraid of the whites – the white men. It is like racial segregation because the rules are not equally applied.”

He was referring to DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters who had refused to leave the chamber at the instruction of the presiding officer. Ndlozi said no action had been taken against Waters.

The Waters incident is being investigated by Parliament’s committee on rights and privileges.

The EFF said rules could not be made and enforced by a speaker who is also part of the ANC leadership.

But Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota is siding with the EFF, saying that introducing new rules was premature.

“Nothing will work until the fundamental problem of a clearly biased referee is addressed,” he said.

Steenhuisen also said there were processes under way to make sure the speaker’s behaviour was also regulated by the rules of Parliament so that parties could use the rules to criticise the speaker.

“The issue now is to restore the dignity of Parliament and its supervisory role immediately.”

Steve Swart of the African Christian Democratic Party said other opposition parties also had a right to hold government to account.

“Even if the speaker’s credibility is legitimately questioned, you can’t hide behind that to disrupt sessions. There is a greater and more immediate credibility crisis – of a Parliament that has lost its credibility in the eyes of the public and that must be corrected,” said Swart.

ANC MP Richard Mdakane said the party was going ahead with the amendments and those who disagreed could turn to the courts.

One of the proposed amendments is that MPs who disrupt sessions must be removed from the National Assembly’s chamber and automatically be suspended for a certain period.
Read more on:    eff  |  mosiuoa lekota  |  john steenhuisen

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.