The EFF notes the media reports that the Speaker has sent a communique to the media that the President will answer questions on the 11th March 2015. We regret that the order of Parliamentary processes is now communicated through the media. The EFF has not received any formal indication from the Speaker as a fully elected participant in the order of parliament.
If the reports are correct, what is then clear to us is that the Speaker and her party are once again trying to postpone the imminent responsibility of answering the question “When will you pay back the money”. As it has been abundantly clear over the past few years, the ruling party will do anything in their power to avoid taking responsibility on the Nkandla matter which in our view goes to the heart of corruption in state institutions. We cannot be fooled by these delaying tactics anymore. The question must be answered and it must be answered now.
In absence of an official word from the speaker or the Presidency, we can only make the following observations:
We note that the Presidency and the Speaker did not inform parliament of this Question Session date they have set. Instead they went to the media first with this announcement. Perhaps they intend having the session with the media
We commend the Speaker and The Presidency for finally obeying rule 111 (1) (a) which binds the President to answer questions at least once per term. We are however dismayed at the fact that this was an afterthought as it was originally not scheduled in the term calendar issued to parliament earlier this year.
This session the Speaker has tabled is a regular term question session as per the rules of parliament and we will treat it as a separate matter. We have a separate set of questions for that session. We are surprised that the Presidency and the Speaker announced it in the media as if it is an extraordinary occasion or as if they are doing the country a favour. The are simply abiding by the rules as set out in the parliamentary Rules Book
However, the question session of the 21 August that was interrupted by the Presiding Officer remains incomplete and must be completed as per rule 111 (6). The EFF offered a solution to the Speaker to remedy the situation by calling a special sitting before the 12 Feb and comply with the rules, an offer she refused. Special sittings are not an anomaly to parliamentary processes. A special sitting was convened to take the unlawful resolution to penalise EFF parliamentarians. It can certainly be convened to address this corruption matter of national interest.
The EFF remains committed to the offer of a special sitting as we deem it the easiest and most practical way we can assist the ruling party to comply with their own rules of Parliament, failing which we will take the opportunity of asking the question(s) on the 12th Feb and fulfil our mandate as parliament.
We warn the Speaker and The Presidency that parliament is not a rubber stamp for their corrupt and immoral practices. If there are questions to be answered on the corruption practiced in the Executive, including by the President himself, such questions must be answered and answered in full. We will be persistent and fearless in chasing the truth
We must also add that we do not trust that the President will be genuine in answering questions on the set 11 March date. It is our belief that if tough questions are asked on the day, the Speaker will simply interrupt the session as she has demonstrated before. The ruling party is hell bent on protecting their President from prosecution even against the recommendations of a constitutionally empowered Chapter 9 Institution. Corruption is institutionalised from the top and parliament is used as a rubber stamp thereof. We cannot allow this to continue. That the Presidency and the Speaker are now fighting this matter in public through propaganda instead of in parliament where it rightfully belongs is a clear indication they have absolutely no intention to hold the President accountable as found by the Public Protector’s Report. We note that the Presidency also misled the public in the media a few days ago saying the Presidency has fulfilled his mandate in Parliament, a statement we responded to in detail on the 20th Jan (see our website). We are not surprised that the ruling party is still searching for ways to protect the real corruption that took place at their President’s residence. The EFF will not allow it.
ISSUED BY THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS (EFF)