SPEECH NOTES BY BOBBY STEVENSON, DA LEGISLATURE LEADER SPEAKING ON THE VOTE OF THE PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE – TUESDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2012

The failure by Government to deliver services efficiently and effectively in this Province is only equalled by the failure of this Legislature to hold those responsible to account.

Until this institution is prepared to exercise vigorous and robust oversight, nothing will change in this Province. There is a broken chain of accountability that runs from the Premier through to MEC’s to Departments and this Legislature.

This institution is currently suffering from what I term “Organisational Drift” where we no longer prioritise core business. The core business of a Parliament are sittings where members of Government are held to account. This Legislature in sitting is the highest point of accountabilitiy for this Province. This institution exists for this core purpose. Organisational drift occurs where secondary issues receive greater focus and priority.

I fully support the committee recommendations that a programme of action needs to be drawn up that includes debates on matters of public importance, members statements, motions and interpellation so that the vibrancy of this house can be restored.

If we do not live up to our role, then people will continue to take to the streets in greater numbers to vent their grievances. We want people to bring their issues to this Legislature. This Legislature however, must stand ready to deal with them.

Recently there were two court judgments namely that of Mario Ambrosini, MP and the Speaker of the National Assembly that was heard in the Constitutional Court and the recent High Court Case in the Western Cape of Lindiwe Mazibuko vs The Speaker of the National Assembly and Chief Whip that was held in the Western Cape High Court.

Both these cases have, by extension, important implications for this Legislature. It is clear from reading these cases that the majority in this house cannot block the minority from putting forward, private member’s Bills, discussion on motions and matters of public importance.

Honourable Speaker, it is clear from these judgments that a majority party cannot simply block a minority party having these matters discussed. It is clear that the rules of this house need to be amended to take the logic flowing from these judgments into account.

The Democratic Alliance is determined to ensure that this Legislature plays a more meaningful role in improving service delivery in this Province. If our motions and matters of public importance are frustrated next year, we will not hesitate to enforce our constitutional rights. This is freedom which we will not hesitate to use.