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Am I audible? Am I offline? - Parly session disrupted by technical glitches

At one point, House chairperson Madala Ntombela - who was attending virtually - lost his connection, which left nobody in charge of the proceedings of the house.

Some members of Parliament in the House while others connect virtually on 23 June 2020. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Technical glitches led to Tuesday afternoon’s question and answer session in the National Assembly being briefly disrupted.

Ministers in the economic cluster of departments were in the firing line.

At one point, House chairperson Madala Ntombela - who was attending virtually - lost his connection, which left nobody in charge of the proceedings of the house.

Deputy Public Works Minister Noxolo Kiviet said: “Am I audible now, chairperson?” This was followed by shouts of "yes" from the House.

“Am I offline? What’s happening?” Ntombela asked.

Ntombela could not hear Kiviet, but MPs in the house, and others tuned in virtually, could – but that didn’t resolve the problem. A power outage left Ntombela unaware of what was happening in the chamber and ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina stepped in.

“I am totally disconnected," said Ntombela.

"You are totally disconnected but request members to mute [their microphones]," said Majodina.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone intervened: “Honourable… I don’t know who to address, because we don’t have a chair of the house at the moment therefore the sitting is not actually taking place. The mace is in front of the house and there’s no chair – this is an unprecedented thing that has happened in Parliament.”

Chair of chairs Cedrick Frolick took over as presiding officer and the question and answer session was concluded in relatively good order.

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