A request for an urgent snap debate on the wretched state of the economy, proposed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) has been turned down by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.
This development was brought to light by DA finance spokesman David Maynier. The opposition MP expressed sadness over Mbete’s refusal to grant the DA its request, buttressing that there is scope within the rules of the assembly for debates on national public importance, including the deep economic trouble’ in SA.
BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that it is in terms of the National Assembly Rule 130. However, the speaker refused Maynier’s request on the ground that ‘the matter can be considered by some other means in the near future’.
But Maynier stressed that Mbete already knows there’s no prospect of this matter being dealt with by other means in the near future.
He pointed out that the next opportunity for members’ statements was August 22‚ and the next opportunity for oral questions was August 23. If a written question were submitted today it would‚ at best‚ be replied to on July 14.
The MP expressed strong confidence that Mbete is simply trying so hard to protect President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, from a tough debate on measures to deal with the economic crisis in South Africa.
On June 9, the DA announced that it has written to Baleka Mbete calling for a ‘snap debate’ on measures to deal with the recession, rating downgrades and mass unemployment in South Africa.
In recent time, Mbete has been blamed for constantly displaying a blatant party political partisanship and shamelessly using her position to bully and intimidate the opposition parties.
This sentiment is always evident whenever President Zuma and his cabinet appear in the National Assembly for oral question sessions – the Nkandla case is a clear example of how Parliament, under Mbete’s watch, failed to act against the President.
Many believe that the inappropriateness of Mbete’s dual roles as ANC chairperson and Speaker of the National Assembly are part of the problem.
Nevertheless, the bitter truth is Mbete’s biased behavior and executive-minded approach puts South Africa’s Parliament and its hard-fought democracy on a bad spot.