NEWS & ANALYSIS

DA to boycott SONA red carpet - Mmusi Maimane

DA PL says his party's MPs will arrive as a group, and will proceed straight to the National Assembly

SONA 2015 not a red carpet occasion

12 February 2015

Note to Editors: The following remarks were made by DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane MP, at a Parliamentary press briefing this morning.

The Democratic Alliance will boycott this evening's red carpet activities, and any festivities scheduled around Parliament's state of the nation sitting.

Our caucus will arrive as a group, and will proceed straight to the National Assembly.

At a time when our country is in crisis, we are not celebrating this as a red carpet occasion. 

South Africans want Parliament to work, and MPs to do their jobs. 

We are here this evening for the President to account to Parliament on the real state of our nation, nothing more.

If Parliament descends into chaos tonight, it will be a national embarrassment.

If the lights go out in South Africa this evening due to load-shedding, that will be the only disruption of Parliament's business we will participate in, albeit involuntarily. 

The fact that power cuts may need to happen even as the President prepares to tell us a good story, is a telling sign of the real crises facing South Africa. 

The narrow agendas of two parties have caused Parliament to lose focus from the real issues facing South Africans. 

The ANC's protection of President Zuma, and the EFF's theatrics serve no purpose other than to undermine Parliament's constitutional role. Neither side advances the important cause of accountability for those in power.

President Zuma must account for his wrongs. We are confident that through institutions such as the courts and parliament, the President's day of reckoning is coming soon.

Tonight, however, the state of the nation must about the issues.

An electricity crisis that has cost our country a million jobs since 2008, and threatens to take our economy to the brink of shutdown in years to come.

Alarming levels of unemployment, criminality, drug abuse and hopelessness, especially amongst young people.

These are the issues that will be forgotten amidst threats of disruption and heavy-handed policing of MPs.

Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane MP, DA Parliamentary Leader, February 12 2015

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