The leader of South Africa’s main opposition party, The Democratic Allaince, has alleged that “powerful political interests” were capturing the state institutions of South Africa.
DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, who levied the allegation on the floor of Parliament, claimed proof of such capture comprised:
“From Political interference in the Hawks, to the “politically driven purges” of senior management at the SA Revenue Service, to a “leaderless” National Prosecuting Authority, South Africans are witnessing “the capture of our institutions by powerful political interests”.
Maimane therefore gave National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete an ultimatum to squeeze “five concrete dates’ out of President Jacob Zuma’s tight itinerary for the president to “account and answer questions” in the National Assembly.
The DA also distanced itself from EFF plans to disrupt the State of the Nation address, saying it won’t be part of any disorder on February 12. The EFF had wanted Mbete to convene a special sitting before the address.
The Presidency Monday also joined the discussions around the programme, saying Zuma’s annual calendar always includes “parliamentary work” and that has been the case since his first term in 2009.
Maimane said the DA would request the five dates when the programme committee, which is chaired by Mbete, holds its first meeting.
“The Speaker has a constitutional responsibility to do this. She should be protecting Parliament’s mandate and not that of the president.”
The five dates are to be made up of the four appearances in Parliament as required by the rules, and the fifth date would be a continuation of last year’s abandoned August 21 sitting.
The Speaker’s spokeswoman, Mandlakazi Sigcawu, confirmed that the Speaker had received a letter from the DA chief whip asking her to schedule an urgent programme committee meeting.
Meanwhile Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj has confirmed that discussions around Zuma’s programme and “parliamentary work” were noted.
Maharaj said the annual calendar of the president included the following: The joint sittings of Parliament, oral questions in the National Assembly, delivery of the annual address to the National Council of Provinces in November of each year and the debate and questions for written reply which are responded to whenever sent by members of Parliament during the year.