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Religious leaders mediating over SONA

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Religious leaders of the National Religious Leaders Council tried to mediate between the ANC and the EFF over the state-of-the-nation address in Parliament, the EFF said on Tuesday.

“We made it very clear to the religious leaders that the commitment of the EFF MPs to ask questions during the state-of-the-nation address (Sona) remains intact,” the organisation said in a statement.

The party said it would ask President Jacob Zuma questions during the Sona because it did not believe that Zuma would come to be held accountable in Parliament.

Leader of the Rhema church, Ray McCauley, reportedly chaired the meetings which sought to prevent the interruption of Zuma by EFF MPs.
Zuma is due to deliver his state-of-the-nation speech in Parliament on Thursday.

The EFF said it had “reliably learnt” that the religious leaders reached an agreement with Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zuma on areas which the EFF put should be agreed upon prior to the Sona.

“The ANC officials later turned the agreement facilitated by the religious leaders, adopting an arrogant attitude which they adopted after the peace accord that was facilitated by Ramaphosa.”

The ANC leaders opted for “a tyranny of the majoritarian approach and arrogance” with religious leaders and undermined all what had been done to bring about common agreements, it said.

“The EFF appreciates the work done by religious leaders, and proclaims for all to know that the genuine discussions and agreements we held with them were undermined by [ANC secretary general] Gwede Mantashe controlled officials of the ANC.”

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the mediation efforts by the NRLC were received well by all parties in Parliament.

“The religious leaders came to the ANC leadership saying they would mediate between parties because they were not impressed by what was happening in Parliament.

“This was not only about the ANC but all parties in Parliament.”

The EFF threatened to appear nude in the National Assembly if its members were barred from wearing red overalls, gumboots and maids’ uniforms.
This followed efforts by Parliament to toughen regulations on the dress code for MPs.

On Tuesday, National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise said she and Mbete would apply parliamentary rules and conventions strictly during Zuma’s address on Thursday. SAPA

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