The fifth Parliament has been characterised by unprecedented abuse by the ANC, says Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane.
“The bottom line is that the ANC has broken rules, undermined Parliament, and acted undemocratically to protect its own interests, and in particular the interests of [President] Jacob Zuma,” said Maimane in Johannesburg today.
He was commenting on a report the party compiled on activities in Parliament since the May elections.
“The ANC majority in Parliament has become a blunt tool to use to protect President Zuma and Cabinet ministers from accounting for their actions.”
Maimane said by not appearing before the National Assembly to answer questions, Zuma had failed to properly account to Parliament.
“This is an insult to Parliament, the rule of law, and the Constitution, as the president is required to answer questions in Parliament every term,” he said.
“The ANC has been shameless in its willingness to protect the president from answering questions, trying every trick in the book to block a motion of censure against the president.”
The opposition party charged that much time had been wasted and Parliament should have, by its calculations, sat 68 times since it re-opened after the elections.
“In the end, Parliament sat only 39 times, which means Parliament sat only 57% of the time it could have,” said Maimane.
The DA remained determined to have National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete removed from her position.
“She is clearly and obviously biased in favour of the ANC and cannot continue on as Speaker given that she is also the national chairperson of the ANC,” said Maimane.
“She has clearly been deployed to Parliament to extend Luthuli House’s influence and the DA will continue all efforts to have her removed as Speaker.”
Mbete’s decision to call police into the National Assembly chamber in November, to remove an EFF MP from the House, was cited as another example of abuses by the ruling ANC.
“The security cluster in Cabinet and the Speaker has now taken to deploying heavily-armed riot police to the parliamentary precinct to intimidate opposition MPs,” said Maimane.
“This will not work, and did not work.”