Radley Keys, MPP
Chief Whip to the DA in the KZN Legislature
The Democratic Alliance caucus in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature today withdrew from the process to elect a new Speaker.
We did so mindful of the respect that is due to the Office of the Speaker and our opposition to the manner in which this Office has been abused by the ANC for its own party political purposes.
Both the former Speaker and the Deputy Speaker have over the term of this Legislature shown an extreme partiality for the ANC, even to the extent of using their positions as Chairperson of public sittings of the House to promote the ANC by name.
The Legislature to the People programme and sector parliaments within KwaZulu-Natal districts have been blatantly misused as party political rallies by the Office of the Speaker. This abuse of power has been funded by public money voted for the use of the Legislature.
The KwaZulu-Natal Legislature has also been used as a forum for vicious racial attacks in which the DA has been singled out for a barrage of motions delivered by ANC members. Despite repeated calls by DA members for the Speaker to intervene on points of order, this practice has been protected and continues unabated.
The DA’s action today is a vote of no confidence in whatever candidate is proposed by the ANC because of the partisan way this Office has been misused.
In the heat of an election campaign we need a strong and unbiased hand to direct legislature debates and the track record of the majority party does not give us this confidence.