A Joint Sitting of Parliament, called to debate 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children, degenerated into farce today as a result of the shameless bias and inexcusable ignorance of NA Speaker, Baleka Mbete.
As a result, Mmusi Maimane MP, Leader of the Official Opposition, has written to The Speaker’s Office and the Leader of Government Business to request that Baleka Mbete does not preside over tomorrow’s sitting during which oral questions will be posed to the President.
Today was a warm-up performance ahead of tomorrow’s sitting in which we fully expect Mbete to once again shield Jacob Zuma from scrutiny and accountability.
In today’s joint sitting, a reference to “JZ783” by DA MP Denise Robinson prompted a point of order by a pliant and sycophantic member of the presidential defence league, occupying the ANC benches. The member concerning relied on Rule 14P of the Joint Rules of Parliament which states that “[n]o member shall use offensive or unbecoming language.”
Mbete subsequently told Robinson to leave the podium and the House for “casting aspersions on the Honourable The President”!
In doing so, Mbete erroneously relied on Rules 85 of the Rules of the National Assembly (9th Edition) and stubbornly refused to listen to reason when I presented her with an opportunity to correct her mistake.
It is simply inexplicable to me how the words “JZ783”, which relate to the President and the public fact that he currently faces 783 charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering, could be deemed as “offensive or unbecoming language”.
The ignorance of the appropriate rules by The Speaker is simply scandalous. It is even more scandalous that Mbete will stop at nothing to shield the president from the National Assembly, to which he is accountable.
We cannot have Mbete preside over another oral question and answer session to the president. Doing so would guarantee yet another farce in the House.
John Steenhuisen MP
Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance