Modise slams MPs over bad behaviour
PARLIAMENTARIANS representing provinces were given a dressing down by National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise yesterday for their unbecoming conduct over the last two weeks.
Although Modise read individual MPs the riot act whenever she was presiding, she was clearly incensed with the conduct witnessed when departmental budget votes were debated.
The NCOP has on several occasions nearly degenerated into scenes similar to those in the National Assembly, where the decorum of the House was regularly thrown out of the window.
Name-calling, insults, racist remarks and intimidation of members reared their ugly heads.
During an uninterrupted address before the start of yesterday’s session, Modise railed against the MPs, saying their action bordered on intimidation and disrespect, among others.
It was concerning that members used words and language that was unparliamentary and abused the freedom of speech, she said.
Modise listed several instances where parliamentarians had uttered “sies”, “you have no balls” and “you live in a house full of dogs”.
She took exception to when the EFF’s Nkagisang Koni in the one of the debates suggested some members were drunk and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini suggested one member lived in unhygienic conditions.
Modise also noted with concern that the ANC’s Tsepane Mampuru and James Mthethwa had made threats of assault intended to intimidate other members.
The EFF’s Tebogo Mokwele was also named for her words “this white man, a racist white person who hijacked the struggle” which had been clearly chosen to impair the dignity of a member and was inconsistent with the democratic tenets Parliament stood for, she said.
“I have deliberately taken time on this matter.
“I think it is important we attach the privilege we are given in freedom of speech to the decorum of this House,” Modise said.
“I expect no less from members of this House. Your constituencies are watching and worried about what you are descending into,” she said.
Modise appealed to the members to respect the rules.
“You can heckle, but please don’t take us where we don’t want to go as members.”
Throughout her six-minute dressing down of parliamentarians, the NCOP was dead silent.
After her address, clapping broke out.