Political parties call for debate as Ramaphosa unveils economic recovery plan
Political parties have called for a debate on the address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday saying they would not allow him to brief Parliament without parties responding to his economic recovery plan.
They said they will be abdicating their responsibility if they don't respond to what Ramaphosa will say.
Speaker Thandi Modise said they would decide on the debate to the president's debate, but it could either be next week Wednesday or Thursday.
The DA, IFP, ACDP, UDM and EFF wanted the debate to be held on Wednesday after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni postponed the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said they had a meeting with chief whips of other parties in Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
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Ramaphosa had written to Parliament asking for a joint sitting on Thursday to table the economic recovery plan following the impact of Covid-19.
Political parties said the president's address to the national legislature was unprecedented, but they want to respond to what he was going to say.
Modise said they would check before the sitting on Thursday on the available date for Parliament to debate the address by the president.
"Can we undertake to finalise this thing before we sit today, whether Wednesday or Thursday. Can we agree that one of these dates we are having this debate," said Modise.
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said they want parties to debate Ramaphosa's plan and they would not want him to address the joint Houses and leave without responding to him.
She said there must be a debate on the matter.
Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi of the EFF said they want to respond to what Ramaphosa will say.
"We said the President is going to both Houses about an important matter, about the ailing economy. It can't be that the president can come and go. Let us be clear we want to engage the president," said Mkhaliphi.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh said MPs have a responsibility to debate these matters.
"It's important Parliament does not abdicate its responsibility and parties have to respond because whatever comes out has to translate to legislation. This was our opportunity to contribute to this debate," said Singh.
Nqabayomzi Kwankwa of the UDM also said he agreed that parties be given an opportunity to respond to the address by Ramaphosa.
"Now that the president will address the House today, there must be an opportunity for parties. We can't have a situation where the president engages us and we don't have an opportunity to respond. We will be abdicating our responsibility," said Kwankwa.