Media Statement on behalf of the leaders of the opposition in Parliament by Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP and President of the United Democratic Movement
Leaders of opposition political parties represented in Parliament met with the Speaker of the National Assembly this afternoon, to discuss the recommendations and findings of the Mpati and Zondo Commissions and their implementation, the secret ballot, the appointment of the Secretary of Parliament, Parliament’s oversight model and its return to normality.
The following nine political parties were represented: 1) African Transformation Movement, 2) Al Jama-ah, 3) Congress of the People, 4) Democratic Alliance, 5) Economic Freedom Fighters, 6) Freedom Front Plus, 7) Inkatha Freedom Party, 8) National Freedom Party and 9) United Democratic Movement.
The meeting will continue on Tuesday, 31 May 2022 at 10am.
The Speaker has undertaken to contact the National Treasury and the Public Investment Corporation to establish what progress has been made regarding the recommendations of the Mpati Commission in terms of legislative development to close the identified gaps. She will brief the opposition on the outcome of her enquiries on Tuesday.
Since ad hoc committees are typically the conduit for Parliament to process ad hoc matters, as would be expected with the Zondo Commission’s reports, the opposition leaders expressed concern at the composition of a future ad hoc committee/s that would be dominated by the African National Congress (ANC) as per the current representation model. Since the ANC has been fingered by the Zondo Commission in state capture, it is problematic to have the ANC be the player and the referee in the same game. The Speaker has undertaken to consult on the matter and inform the opposition leaders of her views on Tuesday. It was however resolved that Parliament must obtain independent legal advice from senior counsel to interpret the role of the ruling party in such processes as they were beneficiaries of state capture.
Regarding the secrecy of ballots during motions of no confidence, the Speaker indicated that she would respond to the opposition leaders in full on Tuesday.
The Speaker had agreed to remove the matter of the appointment of the Secretary of Parliament from today’s Order Paper and will provide more information on this person’s security clearance, as well as this person’s salary scale. The opposition believes that Parliament cannot merely be a rubberstamp in the appointment of the Secretary of Parliament, whilst the salary package has not yet been resolved.
On the matter of Parliament’s oversight model, the Speaker assured that she is working around the clock to look for an alternative that would lead to normality and that committees were already operating at their standard modus operandi. She confirmed that any portfolio committee had the right to summon a minister to appear before them.
We believe that both delegations were satisfied with the outcome of our interactions thus far.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
President of the United Democratic Movement