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Hundreds of leather-bound copies of the Constitution missing from Parliament

Each member of Parliament is supposed to be issued with a copy, for which they must sign. But a number of MPs from various political parties who went to collect theirs on Wednesday were told that they had all gone.

The National Assembly of South Africa on 22 May 2019. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Parliament is set to investigate the disappearance of hundreds of leather-bound copies of the country’s Constitution.

Each member of Parliament is supposed to be issued with a copy, for which they must sign. But a number of MPs from various political parties who went to collect theirs on Wednesday were told that they were gone.

The issue was raised at Thursday’s meeting of the National Assembly programming committee, where it emerged the disappearance was due to members of Parliament taking more than the single copy they are each entitled to.

The Democratic Alliance’s Natasha Mazzone suggested that security cameras be checked to see who helped appropriate themselves multiple copies “without offering any compensation”.

“Speaker, it really embarrasses me to say this because it’s the most sacred document our country has and they disappeared and now we have members who don’t have copies of these constitutions and we need to address this rather urgently, please.”

Speaker Thandi Modise replied that the matter would be investigated: “We shouldn’t even be jesting about it, it is bad. Taking what doesn’t belong to you and what has not been allocated to you must be categorised as it is. So, we must go into this."

Modise expressed the hope that members would return copies they were not entitled to.

"So we need to deal with it and nip it in the bud, as early as now.”

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