ANC: Empower Parliament to fire MPs


The ANC wants Parliament to have powers to expel MPs in the wake of the Economic Freedom Fighters' disruption of Thursday's sitting of the law-making institution. Thursday's Parliamentary session, in which President Jacob Zuma was due to answer questions from MPs on a range of subjects, was abandoned after the EFF demanded that Zuma should outline plans to pay back a portion of the R250m the state spent on his private Nkandla homestead. They chanted "Pay back the money", ignoring Speaker Baleka Mbete's pleas for order.

It was the first time in the past 20 years that something like that Parliament had been forced to abandon its proceedings.

In an interview with DRUM, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa has suggested that existing sanctions are not enough to deter the behaviour of a party like the EFF when it chooses to shun Parliamentary rules.

"MPs of all parties have the responsibility to protect the integrity of Parliament.

"I don't think Parliament has significantly tough sanctions to deter this behaviour. Parliament must consider expelling members. It must have such powers when people are hell-bent to make Parliament unworkable," he said.

Existing sanctions include barring an MP from participating in the active of the institution for a specified period.

However, EFF leader Julius Malema has poured cold water on the ANC's proposal.

"There is no rule or anything that can restrict freedom of expression or freedom of speech. There is no need for (new) rules. Zuma must just pay back the money.

"The rules are sufficient. You can't make rules to control the revolution," Malema told DRUM.

The EFF has been questioning the rules of Parliament, including the fact that the Speaker comes from a political party. The party, which won 6% of the vote in May, instead wants a retired judge to preside over Parliament. Kodwa has ruled out any possibility of his party engaging in talks with the EFF, which is seen as an ANC splinter group as some of its leaders were expelled from the ruling party, saying the Julius Malema's party entered Parliament with the intention of disrupting it. "Parliament must revisit the rules. These are people who are asking questions not to get answers. "Their conduct on Thursday had nothing to do with advancing the needs and interests of their constituency. Parliament must wake up. We are dealing with rebels," Kodwa said.

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