“You are not allowed to participate or clap hands in the house as you are only guests”
ATTEMPTS by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to disrupt the 2020 State of the Province Address (Sopa) by Premier Zamani Saul fell flat as the Speaker of Legislature, Newrene Klaaste, held tightly onto her reigns, calling the MPLs to order and restoring the decorum of the event.
It was clear that the heckling from the EFF yesterday at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre was an orchestrated move after party members followed through with threats to disrupt the national State of the Nation Address (Sona).
The drama unfolded just as the Premier was about to take the podium to start his address. The EFF’s Aubrey Baartman raised his hand on a point of order, questioning the payment of a trip by the current Premier and his delegation in August 2019 to Tanzania.
Baartman accused the Premier of lying in his response to a submitted memorandum in which the party had questioned funding of the trip.
According to the EFF, the trip was funded by the Northern Cape Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, and not from private funders, as indicated by the Premier in his response.
Klaaste instructed Baartman to take his seat, pointing out that Sopa was not the relevant platform to raise the point of order.
A contingent of EFF supporters in the gallery started clapping hands as Klaaste also called them to order.
“You are not allowed to participate or clap hands in the house as you are only guests,” she stated.
She urged the EFF to raise the point during the upcoming debate on Sopa.
Chief Whip of the Northern Cape Legislature, Neo Maneng, intervened by telling members that they were abusing their privileges in the House.
However, just as Saul was about to resume his address, another EFF MPL, Shadrack Tlhaole, argued that they were being prevented from exercising their right to participate in the House’s proceedings.
According to Tlhaole, the party had already submitted four memorandums to the House, requesting answers. He said, however, that the first three had been ignored.
“Only the fourth letter was responded to on the 25th of this month after we threatened to disrupt the House Sitting,” said Tlhaole.
He stated that the party had reason to believe that the Premier was lying as his written response contradicted the verbal one.
He emphasised that the matter should be referred to the Ethics Committee.
Klaaste concluded the matter by ruling that the matter will be referred to the Ethics Committee so that the day’s proceedings could continue.