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25 Jun 2004 12:04
A row has broken out between the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance in Parliament over the election of representatives to the Pan African Parliament (Pap), with the DA accusing the ANC of deciding who should represent the opposition.
Seven nominations were received for the five positions, and after all MPs had cast their votes, the DA’s Joe Seremane and Pan Africanist Congress leader Motsoko Pheko were left out in the cold.
Those elected were speaker Baleka Mbete, national council of provinces deputy chairperson Johannes Mahlangu and Fatima Hajaig, all of the ANC; Suzanne Vos of the Inkatha Freedom Party; and Mighty Madasa of the African Christian Democratic Party.
DA Chief Whip Douglas Gibson said it was a “shameful day” for South Africa.
“South Africa is the only country on the African continent, which has an opposition, which doesn’t allow the opposition to go to the Pan African Parliament.
“Even Zimbabwe sends the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) to the Pan African Parliament,” he said.
The DA intended to discuss the matter with the Pap credentials committee, and “obviously the decision will be taken there”.
Gibson said the ANC had taken the decision and instructed its members as to which opposition MPs should go. “They should be ashamed of themselves,” he said.
ANC chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe said it should be underscored that it was a delegation of Parliament, and not a party delegation.
Therefore each member of Parliament had a right to be elected.
The ANC would uphold that.
“Further, it is also a continuation of our firm commitment to multi-partyism as opposed to a one-party opposition state.
“We congratulate all the members elected, and we are sure they will proudly represent our country,” he said.
ACDP chief whip Louis Green contended the process was “free and fair, and that the election was not a sham”.
Themba Godi of the PAC accepted the outcome of the process, and congratulated those elected.
Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder also congratulated the five MPs, but noted that “what happened today is not an isolated situation”.
“Surely in principle, it can’t be correct that the majority decides on behalf of the opposition parties who should represent them.
Mulder added he was not convinced democracy in South Africa was being taken in the right direction. - Sapa
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