Mike Moriarty MPL
DA Chief Whip in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature:
The DA today wrote to Gauteng Legislature Speaker Lenteng Mekgwe questioning Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s refusal to send a provincial delegation to the joint sitting of Parliament for a debate on Human Rights tomorrow.
Apparently, the premier based his decision on cost concerns.
The DA is highly concerned over the Speaker’s support of the premier’s decision, as Rule 37 of the Rules of Order designates the function of appointing special delegates to the Programming Committee and not the premier.
If the Premier was not available to lead the delegation, then somebody else could have led, especially as there are plenty of important human rights issues in Gauteng, including the matter of xenophobia.
It is foolish to suggest xenophobia was not a factor in the violent looting that occurred recently, as it is without question that the victims were predominantly people from abroad.
The victims too were entitled to human rights, and the riotous behaviour that occurred arose from a mind-set that foreign citizens are a legitimate target.
This can be described in one word: xenophobia. And this is a violation of human rights.
There is an obligation on national government and cabinet ministers to address this matter with all due seriousness, especially those of International Relations and Home Affairs.
And while national government dithers, Gauteng citizens bear the brunt.
Premier Makhura and the provincial government must do everything possible to prevent national government action or inaction from prejudicing the rights of Gauteng’s people.
Clearly premier Makhura is not prepared to challenge his national counterparts in an appropriate forum such as the National Council of Provinces.
By not debating on Thursday this province is missing an opportunity to hold national government to account for its failure to safeguard the rights of people in Gauteng.
This clearly shows that the ANC in Gauteng is not willing to fully defend our citizens in the face of their national colleagues: not on xenophobia and not on e-tolls.
To this end, the DA requested the Speaker to make the necessary arrangements to have this matter discussed in the Programming Committee and to obtain guidance from the Legislature’s legal advisors.