CAPE TOWN -Â THE ANC’s Western Cape chief whip Pierre Uys was suspended for two days after the state-of-the-province address had to be adjourned on Friday.
Speaker Sharna Fernandez put the decision of suspension to a vote after the African National Congress raised points of order, delaying proceedings for around two hours.
At one point, premier Helen Zille resorted to reading her speech in a media briefing.
Fernandez called her back to the house a while later, which resulted in more points of order and the speech eventually being tabled without being delivered.
The ANC took issue with the way Fernandez dealt with a ruling made at the last provincial sitting in December, regarding provincial ANC chairman Marius Fransman’s refusal to withdraw a statement claiming Zille was racist.
It was decided at the time that a court would review the matter independently.
Uys criticised the legislature for apparently changing its mind and referring the matter to the legislature’s rules committee.
“A rules committee makes rules, not a ruling. We were horrified to hear and you didn’t inform us,” Uys said to jeers from DA members.
Fernandez responded that she had severe reservations about referring an internal dispute to a court before all internal remedies had been considered.
“As Speaker, it is incumbent on me to ensure procedures are fair. Any person or party is free to make an application to court.” Provincial ANC chairman Marius Fransman also alleged the live television feed had been cut and that private security guards were waiting to enter the house from a nearby room, allegations that were quickly shot down.
In a media briefing afterwards, Uys said the opening of the legislature was the first and only sitting in which the ANC could raise its concerns.
Fransman said the party had not disrupted proceedings as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had done at the state-of-the-nation address in Parliament a week ago.
He said MPLs raised valid points that did not relate to Zille’s speech or scandals within the province.
Zille condemned the ANC’s “theatrics” in a short statement.
“Their strategy of out-dramatising the EFF will fail and cause a serious backlash among the voters,” she said. -Sapa