Parliament regrets and apologises for SONA disruptions
Cape Town - Parliament has apologised to its guests who attended the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the nation for the disruption caused by the EFF on Thursday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address was delayed by more than an hour when the EFF raised points of orders about the presence of former president FW de Klerk and also demanded that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan be dismissed from the Cabinet.
The move led National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise to adjourn proceedings for about five minutes only for the EFF to stage a walkout upon resumption.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said on Friday Modise and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo joined the rest of other public representatives in extending apologies to the guests and the people of South Africa for the conduct of some MPs.
“It is understandable that the people of South Africa would be highly concerned and disappointed by the conduct of certain MPs.
“In order to restore order and calm, the Presiding Officers had to briefly suspend the sitting, which helped to calm the high emotions and allowed the House to determine a way forward,” Mothapo said.
He also said the conduct of the EFF MPs would be referred to the Powers and Privileges Committee for considerations and recommendations.
“Going forward, MPs will have to seriously consider and make a determination on whether the existing joint rules sufficiently guard against disorderliness that has the potential to paralyse the business of the House,” Mothapo said.
Meanwhile, the national legislature confirmed that political parties submitted nominations for the independent panel that would consider preliminary evidence on the motion by the DA on the removal of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
“A total of 22 names were received. The Speaker will now consider the nominations and make a determination on the three names to constitute the panel,” Mothapo said, adding that Modise would announce her decision by the end of the month.