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Chief Rabbi, others mediating on Parly crisis

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SUZANNE BELLING
The EFF has given the president an ultimatum: Answer questions on the security upgrade at the president’s R246 million Nkandla’s homestead before the February 12 address, or they will interrupt it. The president has indicated that he would be available on March 11 to answer questions in the Assembly.

The EFF disrupted Zuma’s question time in Parliament in August last year and mayhem broke out when the EFF would not heed Speaker Baleka Mbete’s demand that leave the Assembly. Police were called in and forcibly removed the rowdy parliamentarians. The EFF’s “Pay back the money” mantra has been echoing around the country since then.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW PICTURE

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Pictured above: At a meeting in Parliament on Tuesday of the National Religious Leaders Council, with ministers and members of Parliament, including President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are clockwise Giet Khoza of Rhema Ministries; Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein; Pastor Ray McCauley of Rhema Ministries; Ashwin Trikamjee of the Hindu community; Mmusi Maimane, parliamentary leader of the DA; Lulama Ntshayisa, of the African Independent Congress; Sibongile Nkomo, of the Inkatha Freedom Party;  Kenneth Meshoe of the African Christian Democratic Party; and Mkhuleko Hlengwa of the African Independent Congress. 


The EFF parliamentarians found guilty by Parliament’s ethics committee, were suspended from Parliament for a month, with their salaries docked, but a successful court application rescinded this. Since then a new code of conduct has been drafted for MPs, also talking about “proper attire” and decorum.

But the EFF will have nothing of it, threatening to parade naked in the Assembly, should the ANC majority try to force them out of their trademark red overalls and berets.

Fast forward to Chief Rabbi Goldstein’s mediating role:

“Religious leaders were approached by our politicians because of a sacred duty to act as the moral custodians of our country,” Rabbi Goldstein told the Jewish Report.

“We have acted in order to protect and preserve the Constitution of South Africa. The institutions created by our Constitution form the bedrock and guarantee of a free and democratic society. These institutions, such as Parliament, the judiciary and others, must be defended.”

The Chief Rabbi and Pastor Ray McCauley, of the Rhema Ministries, held meetings with President Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Speaker, Baleka Mbete, members of the ANC, and opposition parties including the EFF with “Commander-in-Chief” Julius Malema.

The Democratic Alliance and other opposition parties, which have distanced themselves from the EFF threat to disrupt the State of the Nation address, were also part of the meetings. Besides the DA, they included the Inkatha Freedom Party, the African Christian Democratic Party and the National Freedom Party.

Rabbi Goldstein and Pastor McCauley were joined at some of the meetings by other members of the NRLC, including Moulana Ebrahim Bham, of the Council of Muslim Theologians, and advocate Ashwin Trikamjee, of the Hindu Shuddha Community.

“The integrity of the Constitution has been at stake during the past few months,” explained Rabbi Goldstein. “The integrity of Parliament is dependent on the president answering questions put to him in a dignified manner by members of Parliament. The dignity of the proceedings of Parliament must be preserved at all costs.

“We are making progress,” he said. “But it is a process we need to resolve in the next few days.”

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Russell Fig

    Jan 28, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    ‘Are Julius Malema and his party the EFF the only disruptive influence or are there also others who woud like the president to answer the same set of questions?’

  2. Mkhuleko Hlengwa

    Jan 29, 2015 at 5:22 am

    ‘Please be advised that I, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, am a member of the Inkatha Freedom Party not the African Independent Congress as reflected in the photo caption

    Thank-you’

  3. Myron Robinson

    Jan 29, 2015 at 7:01 am

    ‘What is there to negotiate. The EFF are correct in their quest to get the President to answer questions. (However  questionable their approach). The President is elected by Parliament not the ANC and is obliged to attend Parliament a minimum of 4 times a year to answer questions from MPs. We call ourselves a democracy which the Govt. observes more in the breach than the adherence. Surely Pres. Zuma must either fulfil his constitutional obligation or resign as president.’

  4. alan rosenberg(a.c.i.s.) london royal charter

    Jan 31, 2015 at 10:11 am

    ‘FIRSTLY: WE JEWS,ISRAELIS WHITE JEWS< BLACK JEWS ARE THE MOST HATED PEOPLE IN THE UNIVERSE. SECONDLY : IT IS HIGHLY IRRESPONSIBLE OF RABBI GOLDSTEIN TO INVOLVE JEWRY IN POLITICAL ISSUES.AS AN AGENT FOR JEWRY HE IS SETTING UP DANGEROUS REBOUNDS  BOTH PHYSICAL AND HATE INSPIRED REPERCUSSIONS. IT IS WELL ADVISED THAT WHEN WE JEWS WHO ARE A MINORITY IN SOUTH AFRICA KEEP SILENT ON POLITICAL ISSUES. JULIUS MALEMA WILL BY NOW HAVE NOTED \”THE MAJUTA PRESENCE\” AGAINST HIM AND PREPARES HIS RESPONSE WHICH WILL BE HIGHLY ANTI-SEMITIC. THE RABBIS NAIVETY AND SHELTERED  EXISTENCE HAS NOW BROUGHT DANGER TO JEWS IN SOUTH-AFRCA. I URGE HIM TO ABSTAIN FROM ANY FURTHER DISCUSSIONS ON JULIUS MALEMA AND THE EFF./WHAT A STUPID EGOTISTICAL MOVE(OMG)’

  5. Eli Leventhal.

    Feb 1, 2015 at 3:50 am

    ‘Balderdash, Alan.

    As a long-time UK SA-expat I have followed this amd its precursor site with much and regular interest. I have little time to follow news in general, and SA and Jewish news in particular – and so I enjoy getting most of it from thes platform.

    I am also a voracious reader of the many comments posted, though I seldompartake myself unless I am really emotional on a subject. And haere, Alan, I really feel the need to chip in.

    Worldwide, Jewry has engaged in, and with, those 1n power at all levels. This is good, not bad.

    The rabbi is a fabulaous diplomat for the SA Jewish people, and, in this case, simply a part of an interfaith group. So I think your post-holocaust paranoia is misplaced.

    You read this as the Chief Rabbi vs. the EFF – while I read it as a group of respected religious leaders trying to broker an unpartisan inter-party arrangement (which the pols seem not to be able to do as they seem not thave an inter-party caucus of any kind) to save embarrassment and conflict on the local and world stage.

    Why would you think that is bad for SA Jewish people?’

  6. Mordechai

    Feb 4, 2015 at 4:16 am

    ‘Chief Rabbi Goldstein reminds me of Nero who \”fiddled while Rome burned\”. There are so many issues facing South African Jewry in the openly anti Israel South Africa, and the Chief Rabbi sees fit to mediate between Malema and Zuma…this defies belief.’

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