Speaker Thandi Modise cautions Malema against making threats to disrupt SONA

Image credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo have cautioned MPs against making public threats to disrupt Parliament’s activities.

In a statement on Monday issued by Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo, Modise and Masondo said “such threats were irresponsible and they showed a lack of understanding of one’s public duty.”

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Sunday warned President Cyril Ramaphosa that the EFF would disrupt the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in February if he does not fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

‘Not losing sleep over threats’

Malema said, “I want to tell Cyril Ramaphosa today that if he can’t fire Pravin before the State of the Nation Address, the State of the Nation Address shall be about Pravin.

“We will stand up there. We will stop him from speaking. We will tell him, ‘You must fire Pravin because we must protect South Africa’s assets.’”

However, Mothapo said Modise and Masondo “would not lose sleep over such threats” because there are mechanisms to prevent disruptions.

Nevertheless, they “found such perennial threats ahead of key parliamentary programmes objectionable and an unnecessary distraction to the institution’s commitments to South Africans.”

‘Strengthen, not impede, Parliament’s work’

The two presiding officers urged lawmakers to “to strengthen Parliament’s constitutional function of fearless oversight over the executive, not impede its work.”

EFF’s call for Ramaphosa to sack Gordhan follows those by labour federation Cosatu, ANC Youth League in the Free State and the Black First Land First (BLF) movement.

BLF went further to launch an online petition on Monday, insisting that load shedding will not end as long as Gordhan remained in his position.

The calls mounted after Deputy President David Mabuza claimed last week that Gordhan and the Eskom board had misled Ramaphosa that there would be no load shedding before 13 January.

While Mabuza’s statement led to the resignation of Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza on Friday, Gordhan has stayed put.

Ramaphosa said in an interview with SABC News on Saturday that stabilising and “repositioning” Eskom was his immediate priority, not taking action against Gordhan.

ANC Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile also came to Gordhan’s defence on Monday in an interview with talk radio 702.

He said Eskom’s problem are “systemic” and “any other person can easily fail there even if it’s not Pravin.”

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