EFF digs its heels in as Ramaphosa’s question session is delayed
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s question session was delayed by more than an hour on Tuesday as EFF MPs demanded the session be held in person so that the executive could be properly held to account.
The party also wanted the house to discuss a report on the violent removal of its MPs in June.
EFF leader Julius Malema said it was befitting of National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to present the report on the cases that his party had reported to her on alleged sexual harassment of female MPs by parliament protection services staff.
Malema said this had to be dealt with before Ramaphosa answered the questions.
“Through that report there could be recommendations, where you announced how those matters would be handled going forward,” he said.
Malema also took issue with parliament’s continuous hybrid meetings, saying this was done deliberately to protect the executive from scrutiny.
“We cannot continue to meet in the manner we are meeting. You are doing this to micromanage us,” he said.
Malema wanted the session — held in a hybrid format, with some MPs physically attending and others connecting virtually — to be postponed. He said there should be “a proper sitting of MPs, all of us under one roof”.
“Postpone the sitting, arrange a proper venue and allow us to sit under one roof. You are protecting the executive from being properly held to account,” he said.
In response, Mapisa-Nqakula said the report would be discussed by the rules committee on Friday.
Parliament announced earlier this month that an independent investigator found no evidence of gender-based violence and sexual harassment during the removal of disruptive MPs from the house.
On the call for physical meetings of parliament, she said she is meeting with party whips next Wednesday to find a solution.
Ramaphosa, who was connected virtually, eventually started responding to MPs’ questions more than an hour later than scheduled.
He apologised for not being in parliament. “It was my desire to be in the house. I have a family situation, my wife has had a procedure and I want to be there to support her.”
Ramaphosa is facing questions on illegal migration, gender-based violence and his handling of the Phala Phala scandal, where he is accused of covering up a crime that took place at his farm in 2020.
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