Speaker Modise turns down parties’ request to reconvene parliament to debate civil unrest
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National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has turned down requests by parties to cut down the constituency period ending in mid-August, saying MPs should provide leadership and guidance in their constituencies.
Modise also said the national legislature continued to work where necessary through its committee.
She made the statement last night after she received requests from the NFP’s Munzoor Shaik Emam, DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone and the ACDP’s Kenneth Meshoe since last week Monday.
The three MPs had asked that the National Assembly reconvene to debate the unrest that unfolded in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“In her replies, Ms Modise said she did not believe it was necessary at this point to reconvene the National Assembly by recalling members from their constituency period when they were and should be in their constituency areas, providing guidance and leadership.
“However, during the constituency period, which ends on 16 August, the National Assembly had recognised and accepted that its work would continue through its committees when necessary,” parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.
Mothapo also said several committees continued to meet to consider issues including those directly related to the unrest.
The committees included the joint standing committee on defence, the joint standing committee on intelligence and the portfolio committee on police.
“These activities indicated the National Assembly was active and responsive to what was unfolding in society and was playing its constitutional role of oversight and holding the executive to account despite the constituency period,” he said.
Mothapo added that the relevant security committees would be encouraged to have joint meetings and more regular briefings to ensure members were fully and properly informed of the security situation at all times through House chairperson for committees Cedric Frolick.
“For these reasons, Ms Modise said she did not believe it necessary, at this point, to reconvene the National Assembly by recalling members from the constituency period.
“However, she remained open to that possibility, should it become necessary as circumstances dictated,” he said.