Parly considers changing rules to avoid disruptions

The last question and answer session with President Jacob Zuma was disrupted by EFF MPs.

FILE: Last month, Parliament was considering sanctions against defiant EFF MPs who caused Zuma’s question and answer session to be abandoned without him uttering a single word. Picture: Screengrab Youtube/Gwandile.

Johannesburg - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete says Parliament is considering changing rules in the house to allow members to participate in debates without disruptions.

She's held a briefing in Pretoria to address what she's termed a misconception that the rule amendment was being considered to deny specific parties the right to express alternative views.

Mbete referred to the last question and answer session with President Jacob Zuma which was disrupted by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The speaker says all parties are being consulted in the rules committee.

"Those parties very strongly made it clear that they needed protection from the insistence of one party to disrupt the business of the house."

She says Members of Parliament (MPs) want their right to represent the people who voted for them protected.

"It cannot be that because you scream the loudest, you are able to have people pay attention to you. You are necessarily voicing the views of everybody."

Last month, Parliament was considering sanctions against defiant EFF MPs who caused Zuma's question and answer session to be abandoned without him uttering a single word.

Mbete adjourned the sitting after two and a half hours of disruption and chants of ' pay back the money'.

This had followed an earlier 90 minute suspension of proceedings after EFF MPs demanded Zuma to first say when he would repay some of the public funds spent on his private Nkandla home.

It was the president's first question and answer session since the release of Police Minister Nathi Nhleko's controversial report that found Zuma not liable to repay a cent as all the features at his home, including the pool and cattle kraal, were for security purposes.

For the EFF it was about making the president account.

The party's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said, "The president doesn't take our Parliament seriously. The president comes here and makes a mockery of our questions and he's let go".