By Jane Sithole, MPL, DA Chief Whip in Mpumalanga Legislature:
The Democratic Alliance will seek legal advice on the powers of Mpumalanga Speaker Thandi Shongwe.
This comes after Speaker Shongwe yesterday threw me (DA MPL Jane Sithole) out of the House, for no discernible reason and without any rule being invaded.
Speaker Shongwe’s latest infringement smacks of a personal vendetta against the DA, after she was forced this week to apologise for a discriminatory ruling she made against me in March 2015.
In March 2015, Speaker Shongwe notoriously ruled in support of comments that my dress was that of a “sex worker” – Enormous DA pressure against Speaker Shongwe forced her to withdraw these comments in the House on Tuesday, and to apologise to the DA.
Two days later, Shongwe again flouted the rules to throw me out of the House, in what is looking more and more like a campaign of discrimination against me, both as a member of the DA and as a woman.
Rule 40 of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature Rules and Orders gives the Speaker the unilateral power to eject a member of the legislature from the house, only if the presiding officer is of the opinion that a member:
(a) Is deliberately contravening a provision of the Rules, the Constitution or any other law,
(b) Is in contempt of the Legislature
(c) Is disregarding the authority of the presiding officer; or
(d) Is grossly disorderly.
None of the above conditions were met in yesterday’s sitting. As a matter of fact, the Speaker issued a couple of warnings to other members other than me. Yet, I was the one to be ejected from the sitting without a single warning.
The DA will now seek legal advice on the powers of the speaker in the legislature.
Speaker Shongwe cannot continue to preside over a Legislature with no regard to the rules and orders of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature. She is clearly abusing the powers afforded by the Legislature rules and orders that enables the Speaker to unilaterally eject a member from the house upon her own determination.