ANC warns against Parliament anarchy

Parliament - Parliamentary rules will be used to punish MPs making themselves guilty of offensive behaviour, ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude warned on Tuesday.

Speaking during the budget vote debate of Parliament, Dlakude expressed concern about “retrogressive parliamentary relations”.

File photo: GCIS. Credit: GCIS

“Extremist and offensive behaviour will certainly activate the use of the rules that govern the business of Parliament,” Dlakude said.

“Let us therefore be reminded that these rules have been put in place to govern this institution, serve the function to protect dignity of everyone seated in this house.”

Dlakude's comments follow several incidents in the past few weeks.

Tensions between the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Freedom Front Plus remain high following a number of incidents involving MPs from the two parties.

According to Die Burger newspaper, EFF members have sworn at and tried to intimidate FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder, following a dispute over noise in Parliament’s Marks Building, where both parties have offices.

Another incident, involving threats and swearing, reportedly took place outside the National Assembly building.

Last month, EFF leader Julius Malema was kicked out of the National Assembly after refusing to withdraw a remark that President Jacob Zuma and his ANC government murdered mineworkers in Marikana.

Malema's fellow MPs were ushered from the house after they disrupted proceedings, shouting insults at ruling party MPs.

The EFF has refused to apologise, insisting it was pursuing a revolution in Parliament, not rules.

DA and ANC MPs have also been involved in heated arguments during the budget vote debates over the past two weeks.

Dlakude on Tuesday urged MPs against engaging in mudslinging and “operating in an anarchist manner”.

“Political intolerance displayed on this platform will only breed political intolerance beyond the corridors and confines of this institution, which absolutely indeed does not serve the interests of building free and democratic society,” she said.

“If we cannot muster the courage to adhere to the precepts of dignity, tolerance and cohesion in our debates, we certainly cannot expect our nation to function more cohesively, when we as leaders fail to do the same on this platform.”