The African National Congress chief whip Jackson Mthembu has come out gun blazing and accused Sunday Times for misleading the public by claiming that he intends changing parliament rules to protect Zuma.
In a statement Mthembu lambasts the journalist who wrote the story and has vowed to take serious action against Sunday Times.
“This is blatantly untrue. At no point during the long interview Ndenze had with the Chief Whip was such a remark made. The whole interview was put on tape, and Ndenze cannot produce any record proving that the Chief Whip indeed said those words. Ndenze’s story is wholly based on sensationalized inventions, which he will have an impossible task to prove when the matter is reported to the press ombudsman this week,” read ANC statement.
“Following the President’s plea to the House to afford him an opportunity to account to Parliament and to the people of South Africa without disruptions, we believe that the ball is now squarely in the court of the institution and parties to ensure a conducive environment for Parliament to exercise oversight over the President and his executive. Parliament is empowered in terms of the rules of the House and Constitution to invite the President to account through questions and answer session.
The President respects Parliament and his constitutional obligation to account to it, hence he has honoured all invitations to appear before it without fail. Allowing certain parties to continue abusing this crucial oversight mechanism by hurling profanity and demeaning insults at the President, instead of holding him accountable, will erode the institution’s reputation and plunge it into a state of complete paralysis.
In this regard, the Chief Whip has written to the parliamentary rules committee requesting it to ensure that the existing new rules are enforced. Parliament is a forum for exchange of ideas and a platform through which fearless oversight over the executive is exercised. Insults, derogatory remarks and profanity against those it invites to account does nothing to enrich our constitutional democracy and public discourse.
Parliament (including parties) has an opportunity to rehabilitate itself and conduct its function firmly in line with its own rules, the law and the Constitution or face complete erosion of confidence in its standing amongst the public. The recent Afrobarometer survey, which found 54% of those surveyed disapproved of the MPs’ performance, is a serious indictment on this current parliament that has been characterized by constant disruptions and general acts of anarchy,” said Jackson Mthembu.