/ 19 February 2015

Radebe: MPs disrupting Parly dishonour democracy

Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe was absent from the parliamentary justice committee's meeting.
“As a result of the weakened exchange rate, the October outlook is a major concern,” says Minister Jeff Radebe. (Madelene Cronje/M&G)

The people who sacrificed their lives for freedom must have been turning in their graves because of the disruptions in Parliament during the State of the Nation Address. 

So says Minister of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, who was speaking at a press conference Thursday morning on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held yesterday in Cape Town. 

Condemning the behaviour of the MPs who had to be removed from the chamber after refusing to leave when asked to by Speaker Baleka Mbethe, Radebe said it was disappointing that the elected public representatives chose to dishonour the sacrifices and struggle made to realise democracy. 

“Cabinet condemns the unruly and un-parliamentary conduct of some Members of Parliament during the opening of Parliament. 

“It is expected that when we are elected as public representatives, we are going to honour the mandate that the people who elected us had given to us. So when people deliberately disrupt Parliament, it is very unparliamentary.”

Amendments to Bills
Radebe said Cabinet had approved the directive on the implementation of competency based assessments for members of the Senior Management Services (SMS). 

“The amended directive promotes the independent identification of SMS members’ developmental gaps, introduces the use of technical exercises and provides guidance on how departments can utilise the competency assessment results in conjunction with all other processes of recruitment and selection.”

He said they had also approved the publication of two bills, including the Firearm Control Amendment Bill, 2015 in the Government Gazette for public comments – a bill that had come into the spotlight last year after the fatal shooting of Bafana Bafana captain, Senzo Meyiwa. 

“The Bill amends the Firearm Control Act, 2000 and responds to the Vision of the National Development Plan by seeking to improve the statutory and regulatory framework that will govern firearms. The main objective is to reduce the ownership of guns in South Africa, because of the role firearms play in the increasing levels of crime.”

He said the control of firearms was an important aspect of government’s approach to fighting crime, by limiting gun ownership in the country. 

Operation Phakisa
Radebe said they briefed on the progress made with the oceans economy Operation Phakisa, which was now in the implementation phase.  

“Which involves the monitoring and project managing the implementation. Delivery units have been established and monitoring and escalation mechanisms and processes are in place.”

As part of the offshore oil and gas exploration priority sector, government hopes to have 10 exploration wells drilled in the next 10 years and Radebe said they are confident that oil companies were behind Operation Phakisa. 

“There is commitment from the oil companies. I have in fact spoken with some personally and they have given us an indication of how they see the process going forward in terms of the legislation, that it must clearly indicate with certainty what ought to happen in South Africa and we are working on that as a government. 

“I have no doubt in my mind that there is a rate of interest of oil companies around the world. The big players are here.”