SOUTH AFRICA: Bishops Condemn Parliamentary Chaos

CAPE TOWN FEBRUARY 20, 2015(CISA)-South Africa’s Catholic bishops have decried the chaos that erupted in the nation’s parliament during President Jacob Zuma’s recent state of the union address.

During President Zuma’s address, members of parliament from an opposing political party decried the president’s alleged corruption, a fight broke out and cell phone signals were jammed.

In a statement by the Southern Africa Bishops conference (SACBC) signed by Archbishop William Slattery, SACBC Spokesperson the bishops said that the actions on the floor of the house was a disservice to democracy.

“The unfortunate scenes on the floor of the House overshadowed the speech itself, and detracted attention from the programme set out by the President. This was in itself a disservice to democracy and to the citizens of South Africa,” the bishops said.

The bishops noted that “the disruption of our chief democratic institution, followed by the needlessly aggressive actions of the security forces called in to remove [opposition] MPs, leaves us deeply perturbed.”

“We also strongly condemn the use of a jamming device to block cell phone signals in the House,” they added.

“It is the fundamental right of every South Africa to know what is happening in Parliament, and any attempt to deny us that right violates the Constitution and demeans Parliament,” the February 16 statement read in part.

“Twenty years after the achievement of democracy, we deserve better than this,” concluded the clerics.


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