EFF calls for end of virtual parliamentary sittings and return to physical sittings

The EFF has called for d a return to physical meetings of Parliament and committee meetings. Picture: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

The EFF has called for d a return to physical meetings of Parliament and committee meetings. Picture: Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

Published Jul 2, 2024


The EFF has called for an end to virtual parliamentary sittings and a return to physical sittings of Parliament and committee meetings.

In a statement on Tuesday, the party said virtual sittings undermine the work of Parliament, adding that the failure by Parliament administration to make necessary arrangements is cause for concern.

“The EFF demands an end to virtual parliamentary participation and calls for the immediate resumption of physical sittings for all sessions and committee meetings.

“The introduction of virtual platforms for the business of Parliament during the Covid-19 pandemic was sensible and practical as the physical meetings were prohibited. Despite many limitations and interruptions, we participated in the sittings through virtual platforms due to the unfavourable circumstances of the pandemic.

“However, Parliament has continued with a hybrid model of sittings since the burning of Parliament in January 2022. The EFF has consistently called for Parliament to put measures in place to ensure maximum participation of all members. This should include committee meeting rooms that are spacious enough for all members of Parliament and halls for assembly and council meetings,” the party said in a statement.

This call by the Red Berets comes just as Parliament through, its Speaker Thoko Didiza and National Council of Provinces chairperson, Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, were presiding over the first day of the week-long induction programme for newly-unveiled members of Parliament at the Century City Conference Centre from Tuesday to Friday.

The party said technical glitches and other challenges associated with virtual sittings are a cause for concern.

‘Virtual participation presents several challenges as many MPs who live in remote areas face significant challenges due to poor network connectivity, which hampers their ability to participate effectively.

“Additionally, virtual sittings are often disrupted by technical issues, including connectivity problems and system crashes, leading to interruptions and delays,” the EFF said.

Attempts to get comment from Parliament were still unsuccessful at the time of publication.

The Red Berets in their statement indicated that they have taken up this issue with the National Assembly. The party has proposed the use of affordable and practical venues around the city of Cape Town, including the New Way Community Hall in Khayelitsha, for some of the sessions.