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Pretoria - National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu on Thursday rebuked MPs for being absent when it came to voting on laws, describing walkouts and absenteeism as “attempts to frustrate” and having a “disruptive effect” on Parliament’s constitutional obligations.
An opposition filibuster last week meant the National Assembly could not pass the Lotteries Amendment Bill as scheduled because there were too few MPs to form the quorum of at least 201 parliamentarians.
This was the third time in three months this happened as the DA, arguing it was not up to the opposition to ensure a quorum, moved to prove its point that the ANC could not muster enough of its members.
However, Sisulu on Thursday emphasised that reaching a quorum was the responsibility of everyone in the House.
DA deputy chief whip Sandy Kalyan apologised for breaking parliamentary rules by walking out after having called for a vote on the Lotteries Amendment Bill.
After popping out to check on DA MPs, she could not return for the vote as the doors were already closed, she explained.
Moloto Mothapo, spokesman for ANC chief whip Stone Sizani, said: “We fully agree with him (Sisulu) that the responsibility (for a quorum)… does not only rest with the majority party, but with all MPs represented in the House.”