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Modise to respond today to EFF's request to relocate Parly to Pretoria

The red berets wrote to Modise last week saying the move would allow more members of Parliament, as well as cabinet ministers, to attend sittings.

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

JOHANNESBURG - National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise said she would respond by the end of Thursday to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) request that Parliament relocate to Pretoria for the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The red berets wrote to Modise last week saying the move would allow more members of Parliament, as well as Cabinet ministers, to attend sittings.

The National Assembly on Wednesday had a historic first plenary session, with just under 50 parliamentarians in the House and more than 200 connected by a virtual platform.

Most parties had commended Parliament for the way it managed the sitting as well as hygiene protocols and social distancing within the precinct. But the EFF told Thursday’s National Assembly programming committee meeting that most of its members struggled to connect online.

The red berets said moving Parliament to Pretoria would also allow more ministers to physically attend sittings.

“I have received a letter from the EFF, I am responding to you on that matter formally, as you wrote to me formally. At this point, I must say members that it will be difficult – without going into details – for us to be moving. Yesterday, we tested out our first hybrid virtual meeting. Except for a technicality here and there, it worked, but I am considering the matter and I will be responding to the EFF later today,” Modise said.

Modise said she was happy to consult with other parties on the question of relocating Parliament. Freedom Front Plus chief whip Dr Corne Mulder told the meeting he disagreed that Parliament should move simply because of technical issues with the new system.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.