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Ramaphosa's deal with MPs in tatters

A deal brokered by Cyril Ramaphosa is in ruins after yesterday's Parliamentary session.

DA MP David Maynier gestures at Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during a question and answer session in Parliament on 19 November 2014. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The deal brokered by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa with opposition parties lies in tatters barely 24 hours after it was sealed.

The African National Congress (ANC) has blamed the Democratic Alliance (DA) for undermining the agreement, by refusing to withdraw its motion of censure against President Jacob Zuma for breaching Parliament's rules.

This means the agreement that disciplinary steps against 20 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Members of Parliament (MPs) would be shelved, also now falls away.

The DA denies there was any agreement and says part of the resolution was that the rules should be obeyed by all.

The scene is now set for more drama in Parliament today, with DA leader Helen Zille planning to lead a protest at the National Assembly at 12:30.

DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane says, "We must censure the president. We are forced to put that censure against the president to send a strong message to President Zuma that he must appear."

But the ANC's Mathole Motshekga lashed Maimane for the move.

"The conduct of honourable Maimane has rendered Tuesday's agreement meaningless, unworkable and null and void."

The DA denies agreeing to ditch its motion of censure against the president, which was later defeated.

The stakes are highest for Julius Malema and 19 EFF MPs, whose suspensions without pay of up to 30 days, could now be approved by the house today.

TUYNHUYS MEETING

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

The talks were aimed at putting Parliament back on track.

Ramaphosa announced he will chair a multi-party committee comprising of National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and a representative from each party to find solutions to tensions that have brought Parliament to near breaking point.

Ramaphosa said an agreement has been reached with opposition leaders on a number of points that will allow for Parliament's dignity and its standing in the eyes of the public to be restored.

PROTECTING ZUMA

Meanwhile, ANC MPs have defended President Jacob Zuma over his failure to come and answer questions in Parliament.

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery says, "The only conclusion you can draw from why do we have to have a motion censuring the president when the agreement you made was that you would work together to ensure a climate in Parliament that enable members of the executive to appear before Parliament."

DA Deputy Chief Whip, Mike Waters lashed out at the ANC for putting the Constitution and Parliament's integrity at risk by protecting Zuma from being held to account.

"You have allowed one man to corrupt our country, to corrupt your party and to corrupt this Parliament."

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