Parliament ready to deal with any disruptions during Sona
Parliament has assured the public that there are appropriate mechanisms to maintain decorum and dignity during the State of the Nation address (Sona) or any programme of parliament.
This after the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) repeatedly vowed to stop President Cyril Ramaphosa from speaking tomorrow because he has ignored the party’s calls for him to fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
National Assembly spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, yesterday said existing joint rules of parliament sufficiently protect sittings of the Houses and committees from disorder.
“Open threats to disrupt the work of parliament, including the propagation of conspiracy theories, are not in the interests of the public.
“They serve only as attempts to distract parliament from its work,” he said.
Mothapo said parties or members of parliament with evidence of any alleged plot to unlawfully use police in the chamber during Sona were advised to submit it to the presiding officers.
He said South Africans face a range of socio-economic hardships and that parliament and public representatives have an obligation to ensure a conducive environment for the Sona, which outlines interventions to tackle these hardships.
Mothapo said Sona also gives parliament an opportunity for effective oversight over the executive to ensure quality delivery of services.
“The presiding officers are looking forward to a successful Sona and are pleased with the state of readiness for this important occasion, as they prepare to host more than 2 000 invited guests,” Mothapo said.
The EFF said there was a “misguided and foolish” intention to bring members of the police dressed in white and black, in a similar way as was done in the fifth parliament in defence of former president Jacob Zuma.
The party said this was against joint rules of parliament that only the sergeant-at-arms or Parliamentary Protection Services could remove a member.
“The arrogance to undermine the Constitutional Court and rules of parliament so early in the term of the sixth parliament to defend an indecisive and incompetent [Ramaphosa] will only collapse the proper functioning of parliament.
“The move to conspire with Saps [SA Police Service] by parliament is unlawful and boarders on constitutional delinquency by the presiding officers of parliament.
“Any attempt to suppress the opposition, who are protected by the powers, privileges and immunities of parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act will be met by decisive and radical response,” the party said in a statement.
The party reiterated that it will not be intimidated and would not allow the proceedings of Sona to continue as long as Gordhan was minister.