In a bid to bring about law and order in the parliament, the National Assembly has ruled that any member of the parliament who is absent from committee meetings for three days without solid reasons will be fined R1,000 a day.
The National Assembly passed the guidelines on Tuesday following the adoption of new rules by the institution saying any of the members of parliament who fails to be present in the committee’s meetings for three consecutive times will not escape the penalty.
The guidelines were approved and passed in May as a total of 211 MPs voted in their favour and 61 against. They came into effect immediately, but would only be tested once plenaries resume in Parliament.
“A fine of R1,000 is determined for each day of absence. The NA rules committee will, from Parliament to Parliament, determine the fine,” the committee resolved as was presented by Secretary to the National Assembly, Masibulele Xaso.
Rule 39(1) of the new rulebook states: “A member who is absent from three or more consecutive meetings of a committee referred to in Rule 38(1) without his or her party’s approval may be fined an amount to be determined by the Rules Committee from time to time for each day of absence. (2) The Speaker must inform the member without delay of the imposition of a fine in terms of this rule.”
Sanctioned MPs are, however, allowed to appeal to the disciplinary committee for matters relating to the R1,000 fines as was also discussed on Tuesday.
We could recall that months back, President Jacob Zuma approached the parliament lamenting how the members embarrass SA through their misbehavior in the parliament.
The president who was addressing the members during a budget vote debate, called for Baleka Mbete, speaker of the National Assembly, to bring the house to order.
“I thought you should know this, some are complaining particularly in this region that in the manner in which we behave in Parliament, we are changing the perceptions they have heard about us, that we are a leading example of the constitutional democracy. They are now saying you are influencing some of their people in a wrong way,” the president said.
It is therefore assumed that it is on this note that the National assembly took this decision as a way to restore order in the house.
Meanwhile, the DA’s Natasha Mazzone had earlier in the meeting raised concerns over what she called insults by rules subcommittee chairperson Richard Mdakane during the May 26 sitting after her party MPs staged a walkout in the last rules committee meeting.
“I was told that I had misbehaved, was not being constructive and brought across revolutionary tendencies. To have been insulted the way I was by the chairperson of the committee was unacceptable.”
the National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete went on to call for DA and ANC chief whips to resolve the matter, and they both agreed.