“It’s a two-way street. It’s not a one-way street. If you want a good relationship between the executive and this House, then it must be mutually beneficial, and it must be executed on both sides,” he told MPs in the National Assembly.
He was responding to a question on whether he intended to have regular meetings with opposition party leaders.
Ramaphosa said that since assuming office he had sought several times to meet opposition leaders, but the arranged meetings had to be shifted because of his tight programme.
“I would like to have a meeting with them before we adjourn this year… I am now trying to settle a meeting for November 18,” he told MPs in the National Assembly, adding that this would be a breakfast get-together.
A few minutes later, a chorus of heckles and shouts broke out across opposition benches when Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane called on the deputy president to say when Zuma would appear before the House again to answer questions.
“Deputy president, as leader of government business, are you going to ensure that the president complies with the rules of this House that he must be here four times a year?
“I’d like a commitment. When is President Jacob Zuma going to appear before the National Assembly?” he asked.
The noise grew louder after Ramaphosa told members that Zuma had a “deep respect” for the National Assembly.
He said the relationship between the executive and Parliament was enshrined in the Constitution, and should be rule based.
“But right now it’s a relationship that is not as well as we want it to. And it’s precisely this that, as leader of government business, I would like to address with leaders of the political parties. And it becomes very difficult when there is howling and screaming and shouting to have a reasonable relationship.”
A good relationship required a conducive environment.
“And for as long as the type of behaviour, that one is getting from members of the parties in opposition, persists, we will not have a good relationship between Parliament and the executive.”
He called on MPs to respect the president.
“I want to call upon members of the opposition parties to be respectful. To be respectful to the President of the Republic, to be respectful of the Office of the President of the Republic,” he said.