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Steenhuisen calls for parliament to reconvene to deal with load-shedding, fuel price and Phala Phala saga

DA leader John Steenhuisen. File image.
DA leader John Steenhuisen. File image.  
Image: Freddy Mavunda

DA leader John Steenhuisen has called on parliament to reconvene urgently to deal with load-shedding, the fuel price hike and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala saga, among other issues.

Steenhuisen said he has written to National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula calling for parliament “to find solutions to multiple crises hitting our nation”.

Parliament is in recess which started in mid-June and is set to end in August.

“It is inconceivable parliament is shut during this time of national crisis. It should be meeting around the clock to find solutions to the multiple crises hitting our nation simultaneously at a time when households and businesses are already battling to recover from two years of destructive lockdown,” said Steenhuisen.

“Parliament needs to reconvene immediately so we can tackle these problems with the urgency they require. This is even more critical since President Ramaphosa seems to be missing in action or simply unwilling to speak to the nation about the state it is in and reassure people that action is being taken.”

The call for the reconvening of parliament comes a week after Steenhuisen wrote to Mapisa-Nqakula, asking her to establish an ad hoc committee to investigate “farmgate”.

“Yet still no action has been taken,” he said. “The constitution tasks parliament, as an independent democratic institution, to protect and promote the national interest by holding the executive to account and by debating and finding solutions to the main problems we face as a nation.”

Steenhuisen said the more the executive fails, the more crucial it is that parliament steps up to the plate with solutions and oversight.

He noted that former chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng previously found parliament failed to hold former president Jacob Zuma to account in the Nkandla scandal.

“It is critical that the speaker demonstrates parliament’s commitment to its constitutional duty and the oath of office that each of its members swore, by establishing an ad hoc committee to investigate the Phala Phala scandal.

“Mapisa-Nqakula’s clear reluctance to hold President Ramaphosa to account suggests parliament is falling into the exact trap chief justice [Raymond] Zondo warned about in his state capture report, protecting the executive from the people of SA, rather than the other way around as is its constitutional duty,” said Steenhuisen.

He said the DA will not shy away from its constitutional duty to hold the government to account.

“We have offered solutions to all the problems besetting our nation, and where we govern we are doing what we can with limited mandate and budget to step in where national government is failing.”

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