OPINION

#NoConfidence: Parliament must reconvene as crisis intensifies – John Steenhuisen

DA says SA's downgrade to junk status emphasises the need for Mbete to call urgent sitting of House

#NoConfidence: Parliament must reconvene as crisis intensifies

4 April 2017

Yesterday’s decision by Standard and Poors Global Ratings Services to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to “junk status” only emphasises the need for the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to reconvene Parliament immediately.

President Zuma’s midnight Cabinet cull has precipitated a crisis and S&P has responded with a resounding vote of no confidence in the president and his new cabinet of lackeys. Other ratings agencies are sure to follow suit.

One of Parliament’s key Constitutional functions is “scrutinising and overseeing executive action” and holding the Executive to account. It is therefore incumbent on Mbete to call an urgent sitting of the House to debate the Motion of No Confidence proposed by the DA on 30 March. It is inconceivable that in a time of national crisis the lights remain off in the People’s Parliament.

Mbete committed to consulting with the Leader of Government Business and the Chief Whip on 2 April, and has surely done so by now. All that remains is for her to schedule a sitting.

The time has arrived for Mbete to put the institution of Parliament before the president she slavishly shielded from accountability during previous crises. She cannot be seen to be dithering - Zuma’s recklessness is already costing South Africa dearly.

Issued by John Steenhuisen, Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, 4 April 2017