ANC, EFF and DA clash as Western Cape speaker leaves sitting abruptly amid fraud allegations

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Masizole Mnqasela  (Photo: Edrea du Toit)
Masizole Mnqasela (Photo: Edrea du Toit)
  • The ANC and EFF clashed with the DA after the Western Cape legislature speaker left a provincial government sitting.
  • This comes amid allegations of fraud and corruption involving speaker Masizole Mnqasela. 
  • The ANC said internal divisions in the DA was hampering service delivery in the province. 

The DA and opposition parties clashed during a provincial legislature sitting on Thursday amid allegations of fraud involving the speaker. 

This occurred after speaker Masizole Mnqasela, who had initially chaired the sitting, left abruptly an hour into the proceedings. The sitting was then chaired by Andricus van der Westhuizen. 

ANC member of the legislature Muhammad Khalid Sayed raised a point of order on Mnqasela's sudden exit. 

"We cannot be led in this house by a speaker and deputy speaker who both have clouds hanging over their heads; and who openly and clearly cannot work together. Both the speaker and his deputy ought to step aside for the time being," he said.

Sayed claimed that internal divisions in the DA in the Western Cape was impacting democratic governance and service delivery in the province.

He said:

We are, therefore, not surprised to hear reports that the premier - in whom the executive authority of this province rests - demanded that the speaker resign from his post.

Mnqasela had been served with a letter from the DA, which stated that the party intended to suspend him from all party activities while it investigated claims of fraud relating to expenses. 

He had initially been given 24 hours to respond to the party, but sources close to the matter told News24 that he asked for an extension.

READ MORE | DA notifies Western Cape speaker of intention to suspend him amid fraud claims

A week ago, the DA's interim provincial leader, Tertuis Simmers, urged the Hawks to investigate him for alleged fraud and corruption relating to travel and entertainment allowance claims.

While Sayed was delivering his remarks, Van Der Westhuizen said he had broken the rules of the house. 

"I did quote the rules and I have made my ruling. I urge members to seek clarity in writing. The rules do not allow for the speaker to explain their decision; the rules provide for members to write to the speaker's office," Van der Westhuizen said.

It sparked a back-and-forth among members, who accused Van der Westhuizen of "suppressing" members and abusing the rules. 

Van Der Westhuizen also ruled that a statement by the EFF's Makhamba Botya did not comply with the house rules.  

"This is out of order. We are suppressed in this house. You cannot all have the right to speak in this house," Botya said. 

The office of the speaker told News24: "The speaker, deputy speaker and temporary chairpersons share presiding duties in the house. The speaker had administrative duties to attend to and the honourable Van der Westhuizen presided in his absence. The speaker resumed his presiding duties later in the afternoon."

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