Mr Speaker, Cope requested that this House, today, debates the deployment of the SA National Defence Force as a matter of public importance. Unfortunately, this request was not granted. It was requested because the National Assembly should ensure that all executive organs of state in the national spheres of government are accountable to it, according to section 55(2) of our Constitution.
The deployment of units of the SA National Defence Force to Marikana requires urgent and indepth scrutiny. So far, government has failed to co- ordinate and explain as to who unleashed the armed forces that are not trained to control civilians in such an emotionally charged circumstances in Marikana. Who declared what appears to have been a state of national defence?
This is a constitutional democracy. The Constitution is supreme, not the ANC or the President or his Ministers. If there was, indeed, a threat to our nation that required the deployment of the armed forces, the question is: Why did the President, as he was here, not inform Parliament last Thursday that he intended to deploy the SA National Defence Force? We believe the President is out of the country; is there any other person in government who can account today? We call on the President and his executive to come clean and admit that it was a grave error of judgement to send in the troops. [Time expired.] [Applause.]