National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Zoom to be used for crucial Covid-19 related questions to ministers

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published May 21, 2020

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Cape Town - Parliament will be using the Zoom platform when it holds an oral question session in a virtual sitting on Covid-19 related matters with Cabinet ministers next Wednesday.

A certain number of MPs and staff will attend the sitting physically and observe lockdown regulations while others would attend virtually.

Briefing the programme committee meeting on Thursday, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said they had looked at available platforms and had held a meeting with National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo.

"For now we will use Zoom. It enables us to carry a large number of members," Modise said. 

She also said they were still looking at other options other than Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

"For the coming sitting we will definitely use Zoom," Modise added.

Chair of chairs Cedric Frolick said Zoom was the preferred option because it can take up to 500 members while Microsoft Teams takes up to 250 members.

This was despite Modise recently showing disinterest to Zoom platform after one "attendee" posted pornographic images and racially abused her at a virtual programme committee meeting early this month.

"I am skeptical of going back to Zoom. I must express that," Modise told fellow MPs recently when they initially discussed the logistics of the virtual meeting.

"I do not want to be exposed to what I was exposed to this morning. I do not think the country deserves that," she said at the time before saying they would come with a comprehensive report.

On Thursday Modise said: "We looked at available platforms."

Meanwhile, next week's session for oral questions will last three hours covering social services and governance clusters. 

More than 80 questions have been asked by MPs across the political divide.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone welcomed the clustering of the questions but noted that time allocation was not  adjusted. 

"Is there a way to extend time?" She asked.

Modise agreed that there was an agreement on clustering the questions. 

"I don't recall we pondered on the time," she said.

Secretary to National Assembly Masixole Xaso said the session would be three hours on the combined clusters.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said the three hours should be kept as it was for the next  sitting.

She said the matter of extending the hours of the sitting could still be considered at the next meeting of the programme committee. 

Political Bureau

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's special #Coronavirus page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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