Ramaphosa to Parliament’s rescue
Committee formed to help restore order in a chaotic House
VICTORY for democracy is how the EFF has described Parliament’s decision not to punish the party’s 20 MPs for disrupting the House in August and planned disciplinary action against other MPs for last week’s chaos.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday met the leaders of opposition parties at Tuynhuys.
He told journalists after the meeting that a committee of party leaders had been established to iron out all problems facing Parliament.
The committee will hold its first meeting next week and will comprise Ramaphosa, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and opposition leaders.
While yesterday’s meeting was planned months ago, it came at a time when opposition parties were demanding a political solution to the crisis in Parliament.
During yesterday’s sitting, Parliament was supposed to debate and adopt the report on the punishment of 20 EFF MPs for causing a riot in the House in August, but that was shelved after Ramaphosa intervened.
EFF MP Khanyisile LitchfieldTshabalala said the brokering of a truce between the ANC and opposition parties was a demonstration of the spirit of democracy.
She said that during the meeting with the deputy president, they managed to address all
Athe sticking points the party had about how Parliament was run.
“The meeting was productive, in that the issue of impartiality in Parliament was not happening. If there is a willingness to find a political solution we are happy,” she said referring to the halting of disciplinary action against the MPs.
“The deputy president has steered this with a lot of assistance from us as the opposition. This is not a victory for the EFF, it is a victory for multiparty democracy,” Litchfield-Tshabalala added.
ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said it did not mean the ruling party had lost control of Parliament to the opposition.
He said all the parties would be bound by decisions taken by the committee.
He said the committee would hold an urgent meeting next week to address all the challenges facing the National Assembly.
DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said the establishment of this committee was an admission by the ANC government that Parliament was not functioning under Mbete.
He said the DA welcomed the fact that Mbete would not pursue disciplinary action against some of the MPs for last week’s chaos in Parliament.
He added that the DA would continue to push for President Jacob Zuma to be held to account for the money spent on his Nkandla homestead.
VITAL TALKS: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa meets members of opposition parties at Tuynhuys in Cape Town yesterday.