DA leader John Steenhuisen has become the second party representative to take a swipe at the ANC’s lockdown laws this weekend, after he accused the government of gagging its opposition.

Lockdown: DA getting cabin fever with ANC

Shadow trade minister Dean Macpherson blasted the ‘authoritarian’ conditions he feels have been implemented, launching a tirade on Twitter. However, Steenhuisen is raising an issue that cropped up last week. The veteran politician has asked for an ad hoc committee to be set up, so acts of police and SANDF brutality can be dealt with accordingly. However, his request has been rebuffed.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli stated that Steenhuisen’s request is “so broad and of such a nature that it would not be feasible to expect a single ad hoc committee to perform”, further explaining that the work “must be done by all existing parliamentary committees and Members of Parliament”.

John Steenhuisen reacts with fury

Predictably, this has irked John Steenhuisen to a considerable extent. The opposition chief says that a “gravely worrying suppression of oversight” has been committed by government, who are making the rest of Parliament “obsolete”. In response, Steenhuisen has instructed every member of the Shadow Cabinet to contact their respective committee chairperson, and hold crunch talks on the matter:

“There is a gravely worrying suppression of oversight and the gagging of Parliament during the lockdown. Parliament is supposed to mirror government in order to exercise oversight comprehensively. Because the structure of government has changes, so must Parliament adapt its oversight capacity to oversee it.” 

“Considering the numerous acts of police brutality and the rising number of deaths allegedly at the hands of police officers during the lockdown, oversight over the executive has never been more crucial in our country. Parliament has been rendered obsolete by refusing to adapt to the changing government during this time.”

John Steenhuisen

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