DA MP forced to withdraw claims about Zweli Mkhize made during SONA debate
Cape Town - Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Siviwe Gwarube was forced to withdraw the claims she made about Health Minister Zweli Mkhize during the joint sitting of Parliament on Wednesday.
This comes after Mkhize complained to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise that Gwarube made disparaging allegations against him.
During the debate on SONA, the DA MP said the National Health Insurance was a poor and unaffordable funding model that would empower politically connected people as it was witnessed with the alleged dubious appointment made by Mkhize in his office.
This was apparently in reference to a report withdrawn by the Citizen, which reported that Mkhize appointed Sibusisiwe Ngubane-Zulu as his chief of staff.
The newspaper had claimed that Zulu, a qualified advocate, was Mkhize’s niece.
Modise said in terms of the rules, MPs have a freedom of speech but it was subject to limitations imposed by rules and precedence.
She ruled that Gwarube was casting aspersions on Mkhize for alleging that he made a questionable appointment in his office.
"Such an allegation may be brought by a way of substantive motion. Honourable member, please withdraw," Modise said.
In response, Gwarube said: "I would like to withdraw the comment, Speaker."
Although DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said she welcomed the ruling, she asked that it be referred to the rules committee for further investigation.
Modise said she had made her ruling and that MPs could refer the matter on their own.