Caucus statement on DA`s criticism of National Assembly Speaker

16 November 2005

The ANC Parliamentary Caucus has noted with dismay wild and
opportunistic accusations peddled by the leader of the Democratic
Alliance, Tony Leon, and his alter ego, Sheila Camerer, regarding the
attendance of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, at the
Court appearance of the ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma recently.

In one of their regular ill-conceived and half-witted statements, Leon
and Camerer this week retorted that by attending the Saturday`s court
sitting, Comrade Mbete demonstrated tolerance to corruption and further
undermined the independence of the court. This is absurd and unbecoming.

Firstly, Comrade Zuma remains innocent until such time that the courts
decide otherwise. The corruption charges remain allegations and
therefore to suggest that any association or expression of support for
him is an endorsement of corruption is nonsensical.

Secondly, our supreme law of the land enshrines the right of any citizen
to attend and observe Court proceedings. This provision condones
transparency and accountability by the Courts of law. To interpret such
constitutional right as support for corruption or undermining the
judicial independence is beyond extreme preposterousness.

Thirdly, the Speaker of the National Assembly remains a citizen of the
Republic and continues to enjoy the constitutional rights of the land.
The party`s ranting about the Speaker`s correct choice is outrageous and
borders on extreme grandstanding.

In this vein, the DA and its leaders are strongly advised to desist from
such callous opportunism and start exercising responsible and mature
political opposition.

Issued by the ANC Parliamentary Caucus