News24 Wire
Wire Service
2 minute read
7 May 2020
9:02 pm

Parliament plans first ‘hybrid’ session, possibly without Zoom

News24 Wire

The EFF indicated that their members will not attend in person, and house chairperson Grace Boroto said no MP will be forced to attend.

National Assembly of South Africa.

The National Assembly intends to have a question session on 27 May, its first since the country was placed under lockdown.

The logistics are still to be determined.

The National Assembly programming committee, chaired by Speaker Thandi Modise, met on Thursday morning.

MPs, bar the EFF, supported having a hybrid system, where some members will attend the sitting at parliament and the others via video conferencing technology.

However, this technology remains an issue, as was illustrated when the meeting was Zoom-bombed with pornographic images and racial and sexual insults directed at Modise.

ALSO READ: Hackers hurl racial abuse at Thandi Modise during virtual meeting

The meeting, using the platform Zoom, was stopped, and was continued minutes later on Microsoft Teams.

“I have my doubts about Zoom,” Modise said, in the second part of the meeting.

She had previously also expressed concern about the platform’s security.

She said she didn’t want to be exposed again to what had happened earlier, and the country didn’t deserve it either.

For the hybrid sitting, the parties will have to determine how many of their members are in Cape Town and how many will attend.

The EFF indicated that their members will not attend in person, and house chairperson Grace Boroto said no MP will be forced to attend.

Modise said she’ll get back to them on what platform will be used.

The efficiency of the virtual meetings parliament had over the past three weeks was also discussed, with some MPs complaining that it was not effective in holding the executive to account.

“It is important now, in this fluid period, that parliament is not accused of having let things slip through,” Modise said.

The meetings have been two hours long since last week, and the suggestion from the Chief Whips Forum was to increase the time for each meeting to three hours.

The ANC’s Cedric Frolick said he was going to ask the committee chairpersons to place a time limit on how long MPs were allowed to speak.

“Some members speak for 20 minutes non-stop,” he said.

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