No reason for council meetings to stay on lockdown - Mazzone

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone (Jan Gerber/News24)
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone (Jan Gerber/News24)

Council meetings must continue or councillors will run the risk of being constitutional delinquents, DA parliamentary chief whip Natasha Mazzone said on Tuesday during a virtual meeting with party interim leader John Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen has been hosting weekly digital talks with his political party colleagues and business leaders, discussing issues related to Covid-19. 

Recently in one of the meetings, he called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to open up the economy and end the lockdown. 

READ | Steenhuisen to Ramaphosa: 'Come out and address us'

This was needed to revive the economy, Steenhuisen said. 

Speaking on the viability of virtual meetings, Mazzone said there was no reason why council meetings could not convene. 

She added they could either be held virtually or via a hybrid system with controlled numbers while some participate digitally.

"We now have to assume if councils are refusing to meet, they are hiding something, because council has every opportunity to meet on the digital platform and on the hybrid platform. We are now saying if you refuse to meet, you are now a constitutional delinquent," she said. 

Virtual meetings

Parliament has been conducting its committee meetings via Zoom. Last week, a National Assembly programming committee's virtual meeting was interrupted by porn.

Shortly after the meeting started on Thursday morning, a pornographic image flashed across the screen. A male voice was heard making insulting remarks to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise.

READ | Council for Medical Schemes chairperson dies of Covid-19 complications

Parliament called the interruption a hack. Mazzone disagreed. She said the interruption happened because Parliament had distributed its meeting ID and user password. 

Some of the challenges Mazzone highlighted of working in a virtual meeting in Parliament was the allocation of time.

She said allowing MPs three minutes to address the House was not promoting a conducive environment. 

"We really have to look at how we hold these meetings," Mazzone added, saying she was pleased committees would be able to get answers to their questions before the end of the month. 

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