DA MPs’ rowdy conduct unacceptable

14 March 2012

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip is disappointed at the conduct displayed by Democratic Alliance MPs who, during yesterday`s sitting of the National Assembly, booed and constantly interrupted Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini`s responses to their questions during the Questions to the Ministers session. The impression derived from yesterday`s conduct is that while the DA readily floods the executive with questions, they are not really interested in the responses.

We are concerned by the virtual collapse of discipline amongst the DA benches, which has the potential to collapse the longstanding culture of civility and decorum that have been the hallmarks of the houses of Parliament. We are particularly worried by not only the failure of an elderly DA chief whip to enforce discipline amongst his party MPs, but his actual participation in the rowdiness. We agree with the Speaker`s admonishment that appropriate conduct in the House cannot be conditioned on whether MPs agree with the Minister`s answers or not.

Yesterday`s booing and the noisy interruptions follow hot on the heels of similar conduct displayed last year, in which DA MPs engaged in a raucous fist-banging of desks during one of the sittings. It was later found that the rowdiness was merely ignited by a misinterpretation of the rules by their deputy chief whip. As with yesterday`s conduct, the fist-banging was encouraged, in full view of the public, by both the party DA Parliamentary Leader and Chief Whip, whose job is to maintain discipline and order amongst his MPs.

We will ensure that this conduct is addressed through appropriate multiparty parliamentary structures in the interest of preserving the integrity of the institution and the public’s confidence in it.

Issued by the ANC Parliamentary Caucus

Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930