Buthelezi Tells Deputy President ‘Speakers Usually Resign’

18 November 2014.


During this morning’s meeting of party leaders with Deputy President Ramaphosa, IFP Leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi pointed out that the Speaker of the National Assembly cannot be non-partisan while still being a party leader. 

“As I explained in the National Assembly,” he said, “the Speaker must be impartial and above party political controversy. In the oldest parliamentary democracy, that is achieved by the practice of the Speaker resigning from their political party upon election as the Speaker.” 

Responding to the points raised in the meeting, the Deputy President agreed that the allocation of speaking time to opposition parties was a matter for concern.

He expressed his personal discomfort at Prince Buthelezi, “the doyen amongst us”, being limited to just a few minutes. 

The Deputy President is not the first ANC leader to appreciate the IFP Leader’s wisdom. In June 2008, President Mbeki said in Parliament, “I have made it a point to listen carefully to everything he says. Constantly I have marvelled at his wisdom and his deep concern to sustain a value system that is critical to the survival of our democracy.” 

The allocation of speaking time was a shared concern at this morning’s meeting and was raised by the IFP, COPE, the DA, the PAC and the EFF. Agreeing that this ought to be addressed, the Deputy President admitted that the Rules of the National Assembly were, at times, not applied fairly, but rather favoured the ruling party. 

“There must be reciprocity of behaviour,” the IFP Leader explained, “But the present lack of decorum and utter disrespect is foreign to Parliament and cannot be accommodated.” 

Nevertheless, the IFP disagrees with the idea that members of the Executive can only account to Parliament if they are not criticised. The Constitution and the Rules of the National Assembly must be adhered to. Even when it is awkward, the Executive must account to Parliament.


The Hon. Ms Liezl van der Merwe, MP, on 082 729 2510


IFP Media, Parliament