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Parliament has lost its relevance, DA says

2012-12-12 17:00

Cape Town - Parliament lost its relevance and failed to be the centre of critical debate in 2012, DA Chief Whip Watty Watson said on Wednesday.

A day after ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga tore into Democratic Alliance MPs for their "rowdy" behaviour during National Assembly sittings, Watson hit back.

In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat exchange between the two, Watson went as far as demanding that Motshekga step down for his "poor performance in the chief whips Forum".

Watson said Motshekga had contributed to the fact that Parliament had failed to debate matters of national importance.

"We've become a House where we debate motions of condolences, things on heritage, and all sorts of other things that really don't answer the questions asked by the electorate, while the debates that are important take place outside of Parliament," said Watson.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko accused many in government of undermining Parliament, but said there were some ministers who respected the institution.

"We have ministers like Rob Davies who are here practically every week... There are ministers presiding over quite terrible departments, like Thulas Nxesi [public works] and Gugile Nkwinti [rural development and land reform], who are also very good at coming to Parliament and being held accountable," said Mazibuko.

However, there were also ministers who had no respect for the legislature.

Reflected badly

"You have ministers who think Parliament is like a mosquito they have to swat away... who don't turn up for Scopa [Standing Committee on Public Accounts] inquiries, who don't answer questions, or who answer them in a cheeky, dismissive way."

Mazibuko said this not only reflected badly on government, but also on Parliament.

"The most damning thing is that Parliament allows this dismissiveness to happen... It's one thing for MPs to be dismissive, it's quite another for Parliament to be okay with it."

Mazibuko said she and fellow opposition MPs would be pushing National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and the leader of government business Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, to ensure that in 2013 ministers accounted to Parliament and were punished when they did not.

Mazibuko spoke highly of Sisulu, describing him as a considerate, reasonable and pleasant presiding officer. However, she did want to see him stick his neck out more.

"I believe there's more political risk he can take to protect the credibility of the institution he swore an oath to.

"While I find him to be a man of integrity who understands the Constitution, who understands Parliament, I don't believe he goes far enough to secure those principles to which he is wedded."

Both Mazibuko and Watson were criticised during Motshekga's assessment of the parliamentary year on Tuesday.

He singled out an incident when DA MPs banged their fists on their desks during a heated debate as being the most disgraceful day in Parliament in 2012.

"The worst part of the whole shameful conduct is that it was led and encouraged, in full view of the public, by both the party DA chief whip and parliamentary leader," said Motshekga.

Comments
  • JanGrimbeek - 2012-12-12 16:36

    Politics 101: A good example of what a parlement should not be !

      jeremy002 - 2012-12-13 09:44

      The day that they decided to appoint people to parliament based on the amount of votes garnered by the party, instead of having individuals stand in their constituencies, was the day parliament became irrelevant. Now we have a bunch of nameless, over-paid, over-fed, sleeping or non-attending MP's that are not accountable to any constuencies. I should know the name of the person who represents the area where I live and voted, and I should be able to hold them accountable. That is how it used to be. What we have now is unacceptable. How can anybody trust such a set-up. Ridculous, and irrelevant.

      derek.francois.3 - 2013-01-03 06:42

      When you have the A. ars*holes N nationalize C corruption as the majority we should not have high expectations.......

  • renofinch - 2012-12-12 16:43

    Surely the most disgraceful day in parliment was when Zuma showed up?

      saintbruce.bruce - 2012-12-12 17:59

      Not really - it's when vitally important issues are brought to the floor and the ANC MP's are absent on masse! The matters needing attention for the benefit of the voters, taxpayers and the country as a whole are ignored. There have been too many of those terrible days. Time for change.

  • carl.ruppert.7 - 2012-12-12 16:45

    I'd also be tempted to bang my fists on my desk if I had to argue with these clowns.

      kalabafazi - 2012-12-12 17:09

      Carl I would be tempted to bang their faces with a desk. I seriously don't know how members of the opposition party maintain their composure when dealing with the anc buffoons.

      zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-12 21:05

      I've seen Asian and European Parliaments contesting a bout of Fisty Cuffs in the house. We ain't that bad after all.

      carl.debeer.52 - 2012-12-13 08:48

      Didnt ANC members throw chairs? or is that something completely different?

  • jan.chrzciciel.9 - 2012-12-12 16:58

    Parliaments are only useful for debating if they are part of a democracy. In a one party regime parliaments are a waste of money.

      izak.burger.3 - 2012-12-12 21:04

      Every time you alege that white people just say and do what they say and do because they want to take over again, you commit the fallacy of the false alternative. Yes, there are a few misguided fools who think like that, but they are a small minority among what is already a minority: a mere 5 million.

  • jaun.lombard.9 - 2012-12-12 17:01

    Parliament cant do anything...Why are we paying them for Non-service?

      heinrich.etsebeth - 2012-12-13 07:38

      [SHOCKED]You can afford whiskey?[SHOCKED]

  • Vaughan - 2012-12-12 17:08

    Instead of thinking about moving parliament to Pretoria, maybe South Africa should think about scrapping it all together as its just another huge waste of tax payers money. All policy now comes out of ANC meetings elsewhere.

      trevor.dean.10 - 2012-12-12 17:48

      @jimbajen: What has this got to do with 'whites'?. All that South Africans (of all colours) want is a government that does its job properly. We surely do not have such a government at present!

      marius.j.rensburg.3 - 2012-12-12 17:55

      Jimbajen - notice YOU are the only one mentioning race here, no one else did or even imply it. "u whites" - seriously? If I said "u blacks" then I'll be called the biggest racist ever. Actually, YOU think you are above everybody else.

      jimbajen.dalton - 2012-12-12 18:30

      Vaughan, after carefully consideration, I feel I was wrong by attacking you like that, i am sorry for my race comment, but the fact is; the ANC remains the majority in parliment, i also have my frustrations about it and their policies but its elected democratically by the masses, I would also love to give another party a chance to show us what they can do for us/ country, but that is just me, what does the other person think about my views and the ANC? Some people love still love the ANC ( more people than others) thus making it the majorier( if there is such a word) ruling party in a democratic society. I believe the DA would do the same in making their on policies if they were the major

      julio.sanfona - 2012-12-12 18:41

      Hey Dalton, you don't really have an argument except to get racial, personal and showing the chip on your shoulder.

      p.borchard - 2012-12-13 07:47

      jimbajen, "Some people love still love the ANC " - would that be like one still loves your family member sitting on death row for maiming and killing someone? Because that is very much what the ANC is doing to our country.

  • debduplessis - 2012-12-12 17:11

    Thanks to Anarchy Nepotism Corruption members!

  • trudiroos.potter - 2012-12-12 17:11

    This is Africa............

      john.dekock.5 - 2012-12-13 08:36

      theonly rubbish in this country, is people like you vuyisan

  • Pierre Botha - 2012-12-12 17:17

    Dont blame Zuma blame apartheid haha

      zamani.ndlovu.5203 - 2012-12-12 17:30

      U sound like u miss apartheid.who knows,u cld b the minister of propaganda nw.just wind the clock 2 prior 1994 and live in those days and then shut p

      dewaldmontgomery - 2012-12-12 18:00

      Dude, if the ANC continues on its path to abandon everything it has agreed on IN EXCHANGE FOR a 'democratic South Africa' prior to 1994, the agreement will by international law become null and void, and we might just be forced to revert to the previous order. Yes, I know it SOUNDS impossible since only 1 or 2 members of the previous order is still around, but I'm sure the United Nations has some policies and practices in this regard since they were bystanders at the time.

      zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-12 18:16

      Monty, Don't be so Naive, The UN is not going to remove Democracy of a Country no matter how much you want to believe it.

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-13 06:57

      @Zapadela. Maybe we must fist decide if we have a democracy or a dictatorship? No point in arguing about something if it doesn't exist. I'm not talking about whats written on paper or in the constitution. I'm talking about what and how things are being done Democracy or dictatorship masked as democracy

  • Bongeka - 2012-12-12 17:29

    Guys, I mean MPs, please do us a favour when you walk into that parliament building and remember what you're there for. The main purpose for you to be there is to serve the people of this country. I think parties spend a lot of time fighting about who is right and better than the other. That doesn't serve the purpose you're deployed there for. It's not about you but the people who put you there.

      jimbajen.dalton - 2012-12-12 18:14

      Well said Bongi, couldn't agree more

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-13 06:58

      According to Gwede they rule. Quite a difgerance

  • norman.buchalter - 2012-12-12 17:31

    Oh just go away you pathetic bunch of square pegs in round hole government politicians. I'd wish you all a merry Xmas if I believed there was a single decent bone of Christian values in your disgusting greedy bodies. I'd even wish you a merry Xmas if I even ever fantasised let alone thought , that you cared for the people and were true patriotic South Africans. Instead you merely pay lip service to Parliamentary rules and don't even pay lip service to the concerns of the people. All I can say to you is "Have a Xmas" and come back with some semblance of decency and commitment to us the people. If you don't go away and have a good rethink, and start to deliver, well elections in 2014 may not be far off enough for your self-centred party to survive, let alone be voted again into office. 2012 has proven to be a water-shed year for you. The seeds of disillusion have been sown and you must expect to reap a whirlwind.

      trudiroos.potter - 2012-12-12 17:45

      Most of us feel like you.

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-12-12 17:36

    We wonder what Motshekga will say when a whole lot of left shoes & boots fly through the air and assail his cheeks? or gets a few healthy fat wake-up slaps.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-12-12 17:42

    I enjoy parliament. I love listening to stupid people trying to look and sound intelligent. I suggest that someone makes voodoo dolls of these clowns so that we can stick pins into them.

  • zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-12 17:49

    DA.............Haven't you folks gathered around the Fire sipping Eggnog till the wee hours yet ???

      Daniel Nunes - 2012-12-12 19:43

      ANC.....havent you sat drinking white wine and then burning villages till all hours yet???

      zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-12 20:32

      Well it could have been worse....We may have been accused of drinking White folks blood....hhhehehehheehehee

  • piero.mendace.5 - 2012-12-12 18:10

    Ja, Zamani the truth hurts hey. Knowing it was you that elected these idiots to parliament must make you feel really clever. You dont even make sense when you whine..

  • piero.mendace.5 - 2012-12-12 18:12

    By the way since when does a majority decision mean an intelligent one. The ANC is definitely not a good example. Sounds to me that the minority decision should rule..

      zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-12 18:59

      Minority had their chance and failed dismally..... Note ; Animals are Clever , Humans are Intelligent.....Utilization of the English language is paramount.

      Daniel Nunes - 2012-12-12 19:41

      @zapa, what???

  • piero.mendace.5 - 2012-12-12 18:27

    Why don't you go to Zim?

  • gary.scott.9828456 - 2012-12-12 18:27

    Was Parliament ever relevant in this country. Just a rubber stamp during apartheid, and just a rubber stamp in the new democratic (sic) dispensation. What this country needs are MP's voted in on a constituency basis who are answerable to the people who voted them in, not the party who placed them there as proportional representatives of the party. Currently they throw there ethics and morals away to toe the party line rather than represent the people

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-12-12 18:52

    WRONG, it's still the best place to get a good days sleep.

  • Daniel Nunes - 2012-12-12 19:39

    The ANC has lost its relevance never mind just parliament!!!

  • dbo.kacebisa - 2012-12-12 20:08

    If lindiwe and co can stop obsessing about whats happening in jz's bedroom maybe just maybe we can have a better paliarment

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-13 07:09

      dbo, as long as what my taxes are being used to pay for that bedroom the citizens will not leave it alone, and as long as what your taxes are being used for the upkeep of all those wifes and children, legitamite and not so legitamite ones, you also should care

  • pucksonsibusiso.gumede - 2012-12-12 20:35

    The DA and its supporters are delusional and should have their heads examined if they think they will ever govern this country , they can mourn all they like and paint themselves as the moral bearers and a monopoly of wisdom but we have seen through all their shenanigans

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-13 07:15

      Gumede, just a pity that you base your post on perceptions, but miss the fact that your beloved anc have done a thousand times worse things compared to any government in the world today. But I suppose that is ok, because you guys think we have democracy. Little do you know what is possible with real democracy

  • zapadela.tistarocha - 2012-12-12 21:02

    Well I seen European and Asian parliaments having a little bout of fisty cuffs in the House. So I reckon we ain't that bad after all.

      themba.thwala.775 - 2012-12-12 21:50

      You must have missed the Johnny de Lange v Manie Schoeman ramble in the jungle during a Parliamentary debate in 2008

  • sipho.zuma.796 - 2012-12-12 21:18

    Interesting how people like "puckonsib..whatever" imply that they will support the ANC no matter how much wrong it does. It is these kind of people that are the problem in south Africa. Those who are blinded by the past vote ANC to the detriment of the future.

  • mkulu.mkulu - 2013-01-02 15:27

    I don't give a damn anymore.So what!

  • lynne.barker.7 - 2013-01-02 15:59

    The ANC people do enough of the shouting, laughing and showing disrespect to other parties all the time. The DA are making very valid points.

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2013-01-23 09:22

    Proportional representation does not work as no person is responsible to the electorate only to the party who selected them as MP's. For this reason Parliament is irrelevent. All the executive power of government resides with the ruling party NEC and as such they dictate and the sheep follow. Non performing MP's and those that do not attend to their duties are an accepted part of our government today as all they are required to do is vote when called on to do so. Our Parliament could be halved with no detrimental effect to our country, except we would save a ton of money.

  • Cebolenkosi Ntobeko Ngcobo - 2014-03-16 19:03

    no one really pays attention to parliament or watches their channel on Dstv

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