Mbete calls for special sitting, MPs divided on agenda

The DA wants Zuma to answer questions while the ANC is pushing to discuss the report into the EFF’s conduct.

FILE: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has called a special sitting of the house tomorrow but Members of Parliament (MPs) are divided over what should be on the agenda.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants President Jacob Zuma to be called to answer questions in the house while the African National Congress (ANC) is pushing for the consideration of a report on the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)'s conduct.

Both are contentious issues that have sparked fiery exchanges and filibusters during previous sittings.

Parliament's Programming Committee met this afternoon to discuss tomorrow's agenda.

Mbete told the DA that she didn't know where the president was to put in a request for him to address the National Assembly.

"If I knew he was around I would say maybe it would be easy to persuade him."

Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee's report on the EFF's conduct is item number one on the proposed agenda.

The African Christian Democratic Party and Inkatha Freedom Party are also concerned about the possibility of filibustering tomorrow.

Last week, proceedings were suspended for six hours due to a stalemate after the ANC unilaterally tried to amend the National Assembly's programme.

Opposition MPs objected when the ANC tried to push ahead with the adoption of Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee report into the EFF's conduct in the house during Zuma's question and answer session in August.

In a deal forged by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, political parties agreed disciplinary action against the EFF would be held in abeyance, but that accord unravelled 24 hours later.

A political tug-of-war behind closed doors saw proceedings suspended for six hours.