Free State Legislature dumped into chaos

Roy Jankielsohn

Leader of the Official Opposition in the Free State Provincial Legislature

Free State Deputy Speaker, Sizwe Mbalo, dumped Wednesday’s sitting of the legislature into chaos for refusing to uphold the provisions of the Standing Rules and Orders.

The fracas ensued when DA Chief Whip, David van Vuuren, called for a division to vote on the Adjustment Appropriation Bill in order to record the DA’s objection in terms of Rule 115. Deputy Speaker Mbalo refused to follow the procedure as stipulated in the rules.

When the DA’s Chief Whip raised an objection on the Deputy Speaker’s illegal conduct, the Deputy Speaker unilaterally and extra-judicially expelled DA Chief Whip, David van Vuuren, from the plenary.

The legislature erupted into chaos when the ANC’s Chief Whip, Neels van Rooyen, crossed the floor, approached the DA’s benches, and tried to intimidate me personally.

For two days preceding today’s sitting the Chief Whips’ Forum met several times to discuss today’s proceedings and the DA at each of these meetings made it quite clear that the party will call for a division on the Adjustment Appropriation Bill as made provision for in terms of the rules.

In our view, there was no reason for the Deputy Speaker and the ANC Chief Whip to unravel in such an unflattering manner, especially on a day where the ANC seeks to commemorate the life of one of its own, that of the late Sisi Mabe.

This sort of behaviour by the Deputy Speaker and the ANC’s Chief Whip in the provincial legislature is completely unacceptable and unconstitutional.

We will report the ANC Chief Whip, Neels van Rooyen, to the Ethics Committee to seek sanction against his deplorable behaviour.

In addition we condemn the Deputy Speaker for his unconstitutional behaviour and for his blatant bias in favour of the ANC and the abuse of the powers and privileges invested in him.