Parliament apologises for 'distasteful scenes' that saw EFF members dragged out
Parliament has apologised to the public for what it calls “distasteful scenes” after last week's budget vote debate sittings descended into chaos and saw EFF members dragged out.
The debate was delayed after EFF MPs made good on the promise by the opposition party to disrupt President Cyril Ramaphosa as he attempted to deliver the presidency budget, raising multiple points of order.
The party members were backed up by leader Julius Malema and the rest of the party’s caucus with regular interjections on the virtual platform.
Parliament apologised to the public and people globally for witnessing some MPs engaging in “disorderly and disruptive conduct” to frustrate the presentation of the budget vote.
“Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula condemns in the strongest terms the conduct of MPs, particularly those of the EFF, for their disregard of the rules, the decorum of the house and the authority of the speaker as provided for in the rules of the house,” parliament said in a statement.
“Through their conduct, the EFF MPs also disrupted and interfered with the rights of the rest of the MPs to participate and hold the president to account regarding how his department has spent the previous budget and will implement programmes that will improve the socioeconomic situation in the country, including the fight against the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality which affect the lives of many South Africans.”
Parliament said two parliamentary chamber protection services staff were assaulted in the process of the forceful removal of rowdy MPs from the chamber, and are receiving medical attention.
“Criminal charges, which include assault and intimidation, are being opened by the staff members against the responsible EFF MPs. Parliament is providing the necessary support to these members of staff,” it said.
Parliament said it takes oversight over the executive, including the president, seriously and will always ensure the right of MPs to exercise their constitutional functions is protected. “However, the kind of conduct displayed is obstructive to the business of the house and impedes the ability of the institution to oversee the actions of the executives and hold them to account.”
Parliament also noted allegations of gender-based violence (GBV) and alleged mishandling of MPs by parliamentary protection services in the course of fulfilling their chamber duties.
“These will be looked into. Parliament will look into the conduct of the members involved with a view to determine any further actions that may be taken.”
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