16 February 2017

South Africa: Cabinet Condemns Parliament Violence

Disorderly behaviour in Parliament infringes on the rights of all South Africans, Cabinet has said.

In a statement on Thursday, Cabinet raised concerns about the violence that again broke out in Parliament during President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (SONA).

"Parliament is one of South Africa's founding democratic institutions established by the Constitution to uphold the Bill of Rights and account to the people of South Africa - all of whom have entrusted us with the responsibility of leading them towards a better life."

Cabinet called on MPs to put the interests of South Africans first and reassert the role of the institution.

This follows yet another SONA where the Economic Freedom Fighters and a Congress of the People MP were violently ejected from Parliament.

Eight Parliament protection services officials and a number of EFF MPs were injured in the scuffle.

Call for disciplinary action in patients' deaths

Cabinet also welcomed Zuma's address and reiterated the president's call to intensify efforts aimed at "driving radical economic transformation and efforts to fast-track implementation".

Cabinet on Thursday also extended its condolences to the families and friends of mentally ill patients who died in Gauteng NGOs contracted by the province.

The number of deaths has increased from 94 to more than 100, it was announced on Wednesday.

"Cabinet further calls on Premier [David] Makhura to ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against all who may have conducted themselves improperly or negligently," Cabinet said.

It praised Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi for appointing the Health Ombudsman to investigate the matter.

In the statement released a day after the Wednesday meeting of ministers there was no mention of the Competition Commission of South Africa's decision to refer a collusion case to the tribunal for prosecution against 17 banks, including three of South Africa's big banks.

Storm 'a reminder of government failures'

Comments on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate's ongoing case against Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane were also notably absent from the statement.

Cabinet members were also given a briefing on Dineo, the tropical cyclone which was due to hit the country on Thursday.

It has since been downgraded to a tropical depression.

Meanwhile, the EFF urged the people of KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo to be vigilant in the face of the expected storm.

"Each time there is a storm, it must remind us all of the failure of the ruling party to secure dignified houses for the poor in villages and townships. That they still live in shacks 22 years after democracy means the ANC has condemned them to storms such as Dineo."

News24

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