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The integrity of Parliament needs to be restored – CDP

“The latest impasse between the ruling party and opposition parties has raised some serious questions,” says Rev. Theunis Botha, leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP).

“Parliament is supposed to be a place where robust debate is entered into and where government is called to accountability. Unfortunately this whole process has been hijacked and parliament now appears to be merely an extension of Luthuli House, where the dictatorship of the majority has replaced the democratic principle of ruling in the interests of all the people.

“This was clearly underlined when Baleka Mbethe, chair of the ANC, was deployed as Speaker of the House. In the process we have moved away from constitutional prerequisites, that the executive, including the President, need to be accountable to parliament.”

“Opposition parties have also not acted responsibly as they have put party interests ahead of the interests of the country. The EFF who has been democratically elected and who are claiming their democratic rights have, by their own rhetoric, shown that they do not regard the concept of Constitutional Democracy as particularly binding on themselves.

“Something will urgently have to be done to restore the integrity of Parliament, even if experts from abroad need to be brought in to assist parliament in designing a new set of parliamentary rules. Local expertise is available, but it is clear that suspicion has grown to such an extent that even the best local experts will be distrusted by one or more of the sides involved in dishonouring parliament.”

“If the ANC does not bind itself to international parliamentary convention, then the rules need to be codified, and even legislated, so that a reoccurrence of what has been experienced can be avoided.

“We do not agree that the way in which opposition parties responded, in any way contributed to solving the problem.”

Afrikaan Version

Die integriteit van die Parlement moet herstel word – CDP

“Die jongste dooie punt tussen die regerende party en die opposisiepartye laat ‘n paar ernstige vrae ontstaan,” sê ds Theunis Botha, leier van die Christen-Demokratiese Party (CDP).

“Die Parlement is veronderstel om ‘n plek te wees waar robuuste debat gevoer word en waar die regering verantwoordbaar gehou word. Ongelukkig is hierdie hele proses gekaap en die parlement blyk nou bloot ‘n
uitbreiding van Luthuli-huis te wees, waar die diktatuur van die meerderheid die demokratiese beginsel van regeer in algemene belang vervang het. “Dit is duidelik onderstreep toe Baleka Mbethe, voorsitter van die ANC, ontplooi is as Speaker van die Huis. In die proses het ons wegbeweeg van grondwetlike vereistes, dat die uitvoerende gesag, insluitende die president, verantwoordbaar aan die parlement moet wees.”

“Opposisiepartye het ook nie verantwoordelik opgetree deur partybelange voor die belange van die land te stel. Die EFF, wat demokraties verkies is, het deur hul eie retoriek, getoon dat hulle die begrip grondwetlike demokrasie nie as besonder bindend op hulself beskou nie.

“Iets sal dringend gedoen moet word om die integriteit van die Parlement te herstel, selfs al moet kundiges uit die buiteland ingespan word om die parlement te help met die ontwerp van ‘n nuwe stel parlementêre reëls. Plaaslike kundigheid is beskikbaar, maar dit is duidelik dat die wantroue tussen die partye wat die parlement onteer het, tot so ‘n mate ontaard het dat selfs die beste plaaslike kenners gewantrou sal.” “As die ANC is nie aan internasionale parlementêre konvensie gebonde is nie, dan is dit nodig dat die reëls gekodifiseer moet word, en selfs in wetgewing gegiet moet word, sodat ‘n herhaling van wat reeds ervaar is vermy kan word. “Ons stem ook nie saam met die manier waarop sommige opposisiepartye op die probleem gereageer het nie.”