Opposition parties in the city of Cape Town have accused the now governing Democratic Alliance (DA) of behaving like the past administration in their act of using its muscle to stifle debate.
This happens barely a month after the DA won a two-thirds majority in the City of Cape Town taking over leadership from the African National Congress (ANC).
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) councilor Grant Haskin‚ whose party has three councilors in the city, said the DA was behaving like the ANC in Parliament.
Haskin said after complaining about the ANC’s behaviour in Parliament, “When they (the DA) get to be in government‚ they do the same thing”.
“They are shutting us down. We don’t even have the opportunity to ask proper questions without the speaker shutting us down … you can’t say anything in one minute.”
More to this, Ganief Hendricks‚ from Al Jama-ah‚ with two seats‚ reiterated that the DA gave no room for them to speak and if at all they were allowed to, they were given limited time to air their views on a particular issues raised in the house.
“If there are 50 items on the agenda, it means that we can only speak on two items‚ for one minute each. What can you say in one minute?” he said, adding that DA always tries to enforce their “one party rule” position in Cape Town.
To this, ANC chief whip Thandi Manikivana said that, in the past‚ parties would negotiate for speaking time depending on their interest in issues up for debate.
“It’s not fair. We are there because we have been given a mandate from the ground by the communities. It means they are either afraid or they are feeling the pressure because we are raising the issues.”
However‚ Yagyah Adams‚ the Cape Muslim Congress’s only councilor‚ said he saw no wrong doings in DA’s decision to reduce time for smaller parties.
“There is too much time wasted on points of clarity and points of order … there is very little substance contributed to the debate.”
DA chief whip Shaun August, on his part, said the arrangement was never new to the house. “It’s not about stifling debate. If you look at provincial and the national government‚ it is run on the same basis‚” he said.