Chief Rabbi, others mediating on Parly crisis
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.
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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committee, were suspended from Parliament for a month, with their salaries docked, but a successful court application rescinded this.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.”