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Meeting between Ramaphosa and parties underway

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A meeting between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and political party leaders started in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon in another bid to restore peace in Parliament.

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa were in attendance.

The African People’s Convention’s Themba Godi, Pan Africanist Congress leader Alton Mpbethi and National Freedom Party secretary general Nhlanhla Makhanya were also present.

The meeting comes after a truce between political parties in Parliament fell apart last week.

“We [ANC] genuinely want a working Parliament, a Parliament that is not a circus, a Parliament which genuinely talks on issues of the people, not egos,” Sizani said before the meeting started.

Godi said he hoped the meeting would come up with something tangible.

“Surely the last five months of this fifth Parliament has really not enhanced our standing and has actually trampled on the foundation that has been laid for the last 20 years.”

Makhanya said he was hoping the meeting would come out with resolutions on how to take things forward.

“There is still a lot to be done in terms of our conduct,” he said, referring to MPs in Parliament.

“I see things coming back to normality… [we need to] broker a settlement so that the dignity of the House comes uppermost.”

He said he had confidence in all the leaders at the meeting.

Earlier, Malema reportedly got into a scuffle with a security official at the entrance to the Emoyeni conference centre in Parktown.

According to a photo tweeted by Netwerk24, the security official pushed Malema and he fell to the floor.

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa struck a deal with opposition parties that disciplinary proceedings against the EFF would be held in abeyance in return for assurances that they would respect parliamentary rules.

A report by the powers and privileges committee was likely to result in various EFF MPs, including Malema, being suspended from Parliament for up to 30 days for contempt of Parliament. The charges arose from their heckling of Zuma about the Nkandla saga in August.

However, a day after the peace deal was brokered, Parliament again degenerated into insults and obscene gestures when the agreement between the African National Congress and the opposition fell apart.

Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday that the report of the powers and privileges committee was back on the agenda.

The move came in retaliation to the DA’s insistence on proceeding with a motion accusing Zuma of ducking questions on the R246 million security upgrades to his homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

On Thursday evening, the ANC abandoned the debate in the National Assembly on the report calling for the EFF MPs’ suspension.

Ramaphosa issued a statement saying he remained open to further negotiations with political parties to restore calm to Parliament. SAPA

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