Home Opinion and Features Time to restore parliamentary decorum

Time to restore parliamentary decorum

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The scuffle between EFF MP Nazier Paulsen and Agang SA’s Andries Tlouamma was probably one of the lowest moments in the House

File Image/ANA

THE ROGUE behaviour of our MPs from across the political spectrum has gone beyond robust engagement and now borders on utter disrespect for voters.

For the past couple of years, the national legislature, which is supposed to be the parliament of the people, has increasingly become a theatre of personal squabbles between MPs and a ring for the clash of egos of politicians.

Quite often, the interest of the country and that of the people comes last in the fights that have characterised the National Assembly.

There were times when MPs were beaten up by security for rightfully demanding accountability on the part of former president Jacob Zuma.

But Tuesday’s antics on the part of some MPs were just unacceptable, and indicative of how low some MPs can stoop in such an august House.

That during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s question and answer session, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba showed EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi his pinkie finger underscored how misbehaved and immaturish our MPs can be.

The scuffle between EFF MP Nazier Paulsen and Agang SA’s Andries Tlouamma was probably one of the lowest moments in the House.

At the heart of the matter in both instances is neither service delivery to the people of this country, nor anything in the interest of this country – but a clash of egos.

Granted, MPs have the absolute privilege to say whatever they want, to promote robust debate and freedom of speech, which was designed to ensure accountability on the part of those who govern the country.

However, a combination of abuse of this privilege to pursue narrow personal and party interests, and the disdain for accountability by those who govern, conspire to render Parliament a house of chaos.

Our MPs will do well to remember that Parliament is not a boxing ring to settle political scores, nor a house of theatrics to display egos, but a crucial platform of the people to hold those in public office accountable.

As taxpayers, we pay MPs and public servants a lot of money for their upkeep and that of their families. It should dawn on public representatives and their parties that Parliament is not their fiefdom – but the Parliament of the People.

We deserve better!