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12 Feb 2015 13:15
DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane says it's just another day at the office for the party, which thinks the State of the Nation Address should be about the real issues. (David Harrison, M&G)
It is business as usual for the Democratic Alliance (DA) in parliament today, with MPs refusing to take part in the State of the Nation Address (Sona) red carpet festivities and instead planning to show up in “normal” work attire.
DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane told the media his party believed today was not about the fashion, but about the real issues South Africa faces.
“We simply want to make it clear that for our own members, the focus is about getting our work done today. The second and most vital issue is the fact that if it should happen that load-shedding must occur tonight, it will indeed be a disastrous situation for the country and that will be a key matter that South Africa needs to look at, as it is the crisis that South Africa is facing.”
No load-sheddingParliament last week said the City of Cape Town and Eskom had given them an undertaking that there will be no load-shedding in the precinct today.
“Parliament hopes that the city and Eskom will look carefully also at the impact of load-shedding in other parts of the CBD, given the road closures and traffic restrictions on 12 February and for the rehearsals on 10 and 11 February.
“The institution also hopes there will not be load-shedding during the address itself, so that South Africans have the opportunity to follow the address on television and radio,” it said in a statement.
DisruptionsIn a press conference in the busy Parliament district this morning, as final preparations were taking place, Maimane said any disruption in any form today would really violate the constitutional provision that said the president must account to Parliament on the state of the nation.
“It is not just a speech, but a constitutional function that says he must come, he must appear before the nation and be able to assess what the true state of the nation is.
South Africans must be concerned about the problems facing the country and that is why we, as a caucus are treating this as a normal business day.”
He said should Parliament descend into chaos tonight and the public order police called in, DA members of parliament would not walk out because of the importance of the Sona, unless it became too dangerous to remain in the house.
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