Opposition parties meeting Cyril to thrash things out
OPPOSITION parties were to call for greater accountability from President Jacob Zuma and members of his cabinet when they met Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa today.
Ramaphosa is meeting leaders of 11 political parties represented in Parliament at Tuynhuys to “strengthen” the working relationship between parties, after last week’s fracas in the National Assembly.
Ramaphosa was leading the meeting in his capacity as leader of government business in Parliament.
His office said 11 leaders of political parties had confirmed their attendance by yesterday.
“The meeting convened by Deputy President Ramaphosa is part of ongoing efforts to strengthen and consolidate parliamentary democratic processes by promoting a sound and healthy working relationship between parliamentary political parties and members of the national executive,” his spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said the official opposition would be represented by Mmusi Maimane.
He said the party would put it to Ramaphosa that rule 111(1)(a) of the National Assembly rules required the president to appear before the House at least once every term to answer questions from MPs.
“We will also mention the dysfunctionality in Parliament because we can’t carry on like this. It’s not viable to be continuing like this,” Steenhuisen said.
They would also put forward solutions on “how we fix this”, he added.
“One solution could be more regular meetings and having ministers in the House to account as well as the president. The deputy president needs to commit to our belief in a programme of action going forward,” Steenhuisen said.
EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu confirmed that the party would be sending its representatives to the meeting. We would tell them they must come and account in Parliament.
“We are going to tell him (Ramaphosa) that Zuma must come here,” Shivambu said.
The EFF would tell Ramaphosa that the ANC couldn’t “utilise Parliament to protect corruption”, he added.
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa felt differently, saying his party wouldn’t be bogged down by the issue of Zuma and accountability to Parliament like the other parties.
“That’s not an issue for me … the president coming to Parliament.
“That’s not a new thing. I’m talking about something that will let the nation talk. If we say let’s have a new legislation on party funding, it means a lot
We will suggest solutions to fix the crisis in the House
of people must be involved,” Holomisa said.
He said the UDM would be discuss two things.
“The first one is political party funding legislation. The second is speaking time (for opposition MPs). The ANC is taking all the time as if they are representing everyone,” Holomisa said.
Mamoepa said the meeting followed Ramaphosa’s commitment to meet leaders of all political parties represented in Parliament “with a view to opening lines of communication between the two arms of the state, namely Parliament and government”.
BUILDING BRIDGES: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was scheduled to meet 11 opposition party leaders to try to find a way forward.