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EFF urges Parliament to consider temporarily relocating to Gauteng

Parliament is due to hold its first question and answer session with ministers next Wednesday.

FILE: The Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise on 11 June 2019. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said Parliament would consider temporarily relocating to Gauteng during the lockdown but only if necessary and as a last option.

Parliament is due to hold its first question and answer session with ministers next Wednesday.

This will be it's first plenary sitting under lockdown, and the first-ever to have some MPs in the house connected online.

The Economic Freedom Fightersn(EFF) wanted the session to take place in Gauteng so as to enable more of their members to attend.

They cited the Western Cape's high infection and death rate from COVID-19 and difficulties in travelling to Cape Town.

Modise said she was yet to receive the EFF’s written proposal on temporarily relocating Parliament to Gauteng but said she could do so in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.

“The Powers and Privileges (Act) does give us the authority to designate any place, any venue as (a parliamentary) precinct – and yes, if we consider it important, if we consider it as a last option, we will do so.”

Modise said MPs in Cape Town would be able to attend Wednesday’s first question and answer session under lockdown, while the others will connect using the Zoom platform, which caters for large numbers.

“We may get 40, we may get 50, we may even get 200 members there. But as the presiding officer I am not going to force anybody who says to me I am in the risky category I am not prepared to risk any life there – because I am not going to force members into the House and be liable.”

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