With no political protection, Mkhwebane’s days are numbered

Ideas

With no political protection, Mkhwebane’s days are numbered

So much for Ace Magashule’s prediction that ANC MPs would not vote for a motion sponsored by the opposition

Executive editor: opinions and analysis

Deliberations of the national assembly were already painful before Covid forced us to keep away from each other. When limited gatherings were allowed under level three, parliament reorganised its sittings via a hybrid method, where half of the MPs are in the chamber, and the other connect virtually from elsewhere. You would think that after months of this virtual set up our esteemed members would be used to the etiquette of virtual meetings: Always keep your mic on mute unless it’s your turn to speak.

The national assembly is supposed to be the country’s premier debate platform, where our elected representatives gather to not just process legislation before them, but to engage in informed and intellectual discussions on matters of national importance. Every discussion that takes place in this august house inevitably affects millions of lives outside it, and those tasked with the responsibility of representing the people must always keep this in mind when engaging in discussions.

Of course, the house is also a political institution where parties of different ideological dispositions are given a platform to display the superiority of their beliefs. But since the number of seats is allocated in proportion to the number of votes a political party obtained in the general elections, the national assembly can be frustrating for smaller parties. Their vote on legislation and other issues is almost always inconsequential and they get very limited time to speak. The voice of the ANC, with 230 seats, automatically holds sway when it comes to passing of legislation, adoption of reports or any other matters that must eventually come to a vote...

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