When parliament awakes to a new dawn

MPs filling the National Assembly ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa's Sona, 7 February 2019. Picture: ANA

MPs filling the National Assembly ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa's Sona, 7 February 2019. Picture: ANA

‘Let’s do some housekeeping. All you parliamentarians will not be prefixed with ‘honourable’, an oxymoron, given the reputation of politicians.’

The opposition has ousted the ANC in a landslide election, drastically changing the face of parliament.

Check out the first session with the speaker opening the proceedings televised on Avbob’s eNCA.

“I am Priscilla Plaatjes [I’m a coloured person – check my ID]. Welcome. I won’t bore you with names of the higher-ups present – you know who they are.

“Let’s do some housekeeping. All you parliamentarians, whether in the Cabinet, ordinary MPs on front or back benches, and members of the opposition, will be known and addressed by your first names. You will not be prefixed with ‘honourable’, an oxymoron, given the reputation of politicians.

“There will also be no ‘on a point of order’. Something to say, or ask a question? Simply put up your hand, and if I like your face or attitude, I’ll allow you the floor – for 60 seconds.

“Oh, and please don’t address me as madam speaker. I’m not a madam [I can assure you I don’t run a house of night nymphos. Maybe I should’ve – I’ll certainly earn more than I am now]. Just call me Cilla.”

The house erupts in laughter.

“OK, bedaar, my gabbas. Let’s get on with the session.

“Now, the serious stuff. Cabinet ministers will at every parliamentary session, report back on what they accomplished, or haven’t accomplished.

“No more committees to consider the goings-on of the ministers. Too often, these somnolent cliques stall and by the time the issue reaches parliament, it’s too late to do anything about it. This parliament will do the job. Finish and klaar.”

From former president Ramaphosa, now seated on the ANC’s back benches: “Sweet Cilla, is the DA considering the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank?”

“In your dreams, Cyril,” retorts Minister of Finance John Steenhuisen. “Join the EFF, you sound like Juju.”

“Speaking of Juju,” says the speaker. “There will be no fisticuffs or bottle throwing. Skobbejakke will be accompanied by security to the in-house gym, there to take out their frustrations on treadmills for an hour’s session. If they comply, they’ll be allowed back in. If not, they are banned for two sessions.”

I wake up with a start, feeling elated.

Cliff Buchler.

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