DA wants 'rowdy' and 'racist' land expropriation oral session reviewed

AfriForum's Ernst Roets says the organisation will open an incitement of violence case against the Nelson Mandela Foundation over its statement on violent protests in the US.
AfriForum's Ernst Roets says the organisation will open an incitement of violence case against the Nelson Mandela Foundation over its statement on violent protests in the US.
Image: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Deaan Vivier

The DA wants the National Assembly's rules committee to review an oral submission session which saw MPs clash with AfriForum policy head Ernst Roets, accusing him of racism.

Roets appeared before parliament's ad hoc committee amending section 25 of the constitution to present his organisation's view on the proposed expropriation of land without compensation.

Responding to a question, he insinuated that MPs did not properly represent voters who elected them. This drew the ire of ANC and EFF MPs, with the EFF's Floyd Shivambu and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi labelling Roets a racist.

Ad hoc committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga had also questioned and criticised Roets about AfriForum's international lobby against the change.

Now DA MP Annelie Lotriet wants parliament to act against Motshekga and to review the session.

On Sunday, Lotriet revealed that the day after the incident the DA had written to National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise objecting to Motshekga's failure to protect the integrity and procedural fairness of the oral submission process from the disruptive actions of other members on the committee. But a month later, Modise had not responded.

“We wrote to the speaker to refer the chairperson [Motshekga] to the ethics committee for dereliction or not acting in the interest of parliament but in a partisan manner,” Lotriet told TimesLIVE.

“Our next step is to go to the rules committee to say 'this is what has been happening and we think it is unparliamentary the way they have been acting',” she said.

Lotriet said it was important for Modise to act, as parliament has to take responsibility instead of the matter becoming a political party matter against someone.

“The process in itself on those presentations was absolutely flawed, it was totally biased and that is against how parliament should act. There should be a much stricter management of rules and the ethics of parliament,” she said.

Lotriet said the party was escalating the matter to the rules committee to review the process because the EFF’s rowdy behaviour during oral submissions and Motshekga's failure to act may have potentially violated the constitution and parliamentary rules on public participation.

“As such, the rules committee should make a determination of whether the oral submission process can be viewed as procedurally fair,” said Lotriet.

She said instead of giving civil society representatives an opportunity to freely express their views on the bill, Motshekga allowed the EFF to heckle and hurl expletives at them.

“At one point, EFF MPs Floyd Shivambu and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi launched an unprovoked attack on AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets. They labelled him a ‘racist’, ‘racist fool’, ‘racist boy’ and ‘f****** racist’.

“Dr Motshekga failed to protect Mr Roets from these unwarranted attacks and instead tried to place the blame on him by saying he must take the ‘meeting seriously’,” she said.

She said objections by DA members “to the EFF’s uncouth language” and abuse of Roets were dismissed by Motshekga as irrelevant.

Lotriet said Motshekga’s conduct violated section 4.1.5 of parliament’s Code of Ethical Conduct which enjoins all members to “maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of parliament and thereby engender the respect and confidence that society needs to have in parliament as a representative institution”.

TimesLIVE


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