JOHANNESBURG – HECKLING and interjections on Wednesday drove Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to warn the National Assembly that the agreement struck between himself and opposition leaders the day before was in jeopardy.
This, he told MPs, “fills me with a great deal of regret”.
Ramaphosa, who also serves as leader of government business, was answering a question on what sanctions he considered fitting for ministers who failed to answer questions in the House.
A rising tide of interjections from opposition benches caused him to stop and turn to face them.
“I’m required to stand here and answer questions. I’m not engaging in a debate,” he told them impatiently.
“This is precisely what we sought to address yesterday [Tuesday]. That members of the executive ought to be given an opportunity to answer questions. And they must do so in a climate that enables them to answer questions.”
He said the heckling went against what had been discussed during the Tuesday morning meeting.
“What it means is that what we struck yesterday, does not hold. It doesn’t hold. If I was engaged in a debate, I could understand heckling and interjections. I have been asked to come here and answer questions.
“If I am impeded… to answer those questions… then what is the point of having me here?”
He warned that the agreement struck with opposition leaders was “in my view, about to lie in tatters”. -Â Sapa