Mpumalanga fails to pass budget

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The Mpumalanga legislature failed to pass its provincial budget, opposition parties said on Friday.

The Mpumalanga Appropriation Bill, the annual budget of the provincial government, was scheduled to be passed on Thursday.

It was halted by the DA and Cope, the parties said in a joint statement.

They were objecting to the “ANC's non-compliance with the legislature's rules and orders”.

“According to the legislature's rules and orders, no bill may be passed by the legislature unless the relevant portfolio committee has met to discuss its contents and made its recommendations,” the parties said.

The portfolio committee must meet at least five days before the debate on the bill takes place.

In addition, the committee's report should be circulated at least two days before the debate.

Although the committee met to consider the bill, the report was reportedly circulated less than 24 hours before the legislature sitting was to take place.

This meant members of the provincial legislature had insufficient time to consider the report.

Previously, the legislature's chief whip and whips of political parties would agree to suspend the two day rule.

The legislature would then suspend the rule through a resolution of the house and proceed with its business.

“However, in this case, such prior consultation did not take place, neither was a resolution to suspend the 'two-day' rule tabled,” they said.

Speaker William Lubisi attempted to put the matter to a vote, but Cope and the DA objected.

Both parties refused to withdraw their objection during a subsequent adjournment.

“We, the DA and Cope are satisfied that our 'vetoing' of the passing of the Appropriation Bill was justified, and trust that our actions yesterday will contribute significantly to increased efficiency within the legislature, and improved communication between parties,” they said.

The appropriation bill has now been rescheduled for June 12.

The provincial legislature said it would comment on the matter later in the day. – Sapa


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