Mike Waters MP, Deputy Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance
… South Africans were appalled at the visuals of having armed military personnel on the precinct of Parliament.
When the leader of the Opposition and the Chief Whip both brought to your attention that there were armed military personnel on the precinct of Parliament, you should have immediately suspended proceedings, in order to address this grave situation. The fact that you did not seem alarmed nor even raise an eyebrow at the thought of armed troops on the precinct, indicates that you either knew about their presence beforehand or had even authorised their presence on the precinct.
This despite both your and the Chairperson of the NCOP’s assurances that only ceremonial military personnel would be allowed within the precinct of Parliament.
Your failure to immediately address this gross violation of our constitution will remain a stain on our democracy and ensure that your name stenches the history books for centuries to come.
Professor George Devenish wrote in the Star on 14 February 2016, “Making use of military troops in the precincts of Parliament puts two issues at stake. First, the conduct would appear to be a violation of the principle of the separation of powers and second that of a breach of the Parliamentary privilege, both of which are part of our constitutional dispensation.”
“The chief function of the Speaker is to preserve the privileges and dignity of Parliament in chairing political debate and discourse. This must be done with impartiality and courage. For this to occur the Speaker must be politically independent. Unfortunately Baleka Mbete is compromised in that she is also the ANC chairperson. She conducts herself in a manner that displays a superficial understanding of the requirements of a historic and distinguished office.”
“It is with regards to fearless independence that Mbete and other presiding officers have failed, through their blatant partiality to the ANC.”
Madam Speaker, what you allowed to happen on Thursday night was tantamount to a coup. And if you still don’t get the severity of the situation it is more the reason that you should not be the Speaker of our Parliament.
Only yesterday we witnessed once again the selective application of the rules by the presiding officers. ANC MP’s were allowed to get up over and over again on spurious points of orders and more importantly were allowed to hurl insults at DA members calling the leader of the DA a white man in a black skin and Hon Van Damme was called a “straatmeid” by Hon Dirks, all this with impunity.
And talk about being selective, the Speaker has the audacity to state that she did not hear the F word being shouted out in Parliament dozens of times – parents across the country were scrambling to turn their TV sets down so their children could not hear such vulgarity. The question that needs to be asked Madam Speaker is how can it be that the whole country heard ANC MP’s scream the F word over and over yet you claim not to have heard it being screamed once?
I think it’s called selective hearing.
If a DA MP had said “straatmeid” or called an ANC MP a white man in a black skin or used the F word we would at the very least been made to retract if not be suspended, while ANC MP’s say what they like with impunity and the protection of the presiding officers…
DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi
DA Shadow Minister of Human Settlements, Solly Malatsi