WILL President Jacob Zuma soon be enjoying a R4 billion jet? South Africans are no clearer after the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, declined to let the DA ask the question in Parliament.
“But the president is here,” wailed DA leader Mmusi Maimane as Speaker Baleka Mbete said she had turned down a written request from the DA whip John Steenhuisen.
Steenhuisen wanted permission to put the question to Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula because, in Parliament, questions can only be posed through the Speaker and members are not supposed to address each other directly. They also have to send questions in writing ahead of the sitting.
Mbete wrapped up Thursday’s session with Zuma by saying that the rules did not allow Parliament to allow the DA’s requests.
As MPs started reaching for their bags Maimane interrupted: “Speaker… on a point of order… but the president is here…”
“There are no shortcuts, honourable Maimane,” replied Mbete.
“It’s not a shortcut… why are you protecting him?”
Mbete adjourned the House.
Afterwards, Maimane said in a statement that Zuma had dodged a chance to publicly denounce the purchase of the jet, laughing through his question session instead.
“These actions echo President Zuma’s statement earlier this week about the primacy of the ANC. It is patently clear that his own priorities come before those of ordinary South Africans.”
Sunday newspaper Rapport reported recently that the SA Air Force was investigating the possibility of buying a long-range 30-seater jet for Zuma, which could cost as much as R4bn.