Mbete has no regrets over Parly drama

She said she is staying put in her roles as National Assembly Speaker and ANC chair.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete in Parliament during a question and answer session by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on 19 November 2014. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says one week on from last week's police drama in Parliament, she still has no regrets over the role she played.

Last week, armed police forcibly removed an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Member of Parliament (MP) Reneilwe Mashabela and allegedly assaulting other opposition members.

Mashabela called President Jacob Zuma a thief and a known criminal who avoids courts and refuses to go to Parliament.

Mbete has been strongly criticised for her role in the drama.

In her office in Parliament, Mbete looked cool and confident as she said she's happy with her role last week.

"There is nothing that I regret in terms of what I did personally."

She said people who claim she can't be the National Assembly's speaker and African National Congress (ANC) chair at the same time seem to forget she occupied both roles back in 2008.

"There were interviews, comments, but basically people got on with it. This time around, it's just such a loud noise and I think it's a political thing."

She also said she is staying put in both posts.

ROW ERUPTS OVER ANC'S ATTEMPT TO CHANGE PROGRAMME

A row has erupted over the ANC's attempt to change the order of the National Assembly's programme this afternoon without consultation.

Among the items on the lengthy agenda, the house has to vote on whether to adopt the Powers and Privileges Committee's report into the EFF's conduct.

The committee has recommended the suspension of a dozen EFF MPs, without pay, for disrupting the president's question and answer session in the National Assembly chamber in August.

The report by the Powers and Privileges Committee found Julius Malema and 19 Economic EFF MPs guilty of misconduct.

Malema and his fellow EFF MPs face suspensions of up to 30 days without pay if the report finding them guilty of disrupting Zuma's question time is adopted by the National Assembly this afternoon.

Tempers flared when ANC chief whip Stone Sizani tried to pass a resolution to change the sequence of the programme in a bid to avoid filibustering by opposition MPs.

The EFF's Floyd Shivambu quickly hit back.

"There's a process that must be followed before a programme of this Parliament happens. There's an order paper here and we don't know where it comes from. We are raising to say that there's no consensus among the political parties represented about this order paper."

After various opposition MPs had their say, Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli decided to suspend proceedings to allow party whips to reach consensus.

PARLIAMENTARY CHAOS

A scuffle erupted on 13 November when fully armed public order police entered the house late on Thursday night during a heated sitting.

Tempers flared when ANC MPs objected to motions brought by the opposition in an attempt to delay the tabling of a report on upgrades to Zuma's Nkandla home.

In March, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her Nkandla report and found that Zuma and his family "unduly benefited" from the upgrades at his KwaZulu-Natal home.

But earlier this month, the Nkandla ad-hoc committee officially absolved the president of any wrongdoing in relation to the massive overspending.

Leaders from 11 opposition parties met with Deputy President Cyrial Ramaphosa to initiate crisis talks at Tuynhuys on Tuesday.

The talks were aimed at putting Parliament back on track.

Ramaphosa announced he would chair a multi-party committee comprising Mbete and all parties to find solutions to tensions that have brought Parliament to near breaking point.

Last night, the ANC blamed the DA for the unravelling of the deal forged by Ramaphosa and opposition parties, which gave the EFF a temporary reprieve from any disciplinary action.

But the DA hit back saying there was never any such agreement and that it's all about getting Ramaphosa off the hook from angry MPs in his own party.