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Cold forces MPs to adjourn early

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By Arthur Mordaunt on July 28 - SWAZI TIMES-28-Jul-2009

LOBAMBA – The current biting cold yesterday forced Members of Parliament to adjourn their sitting early.

The legislators could not withstand the cold and supported a motion calling for an early adjournment. This happened about 15 minutes before the House was due to go on its regular 15 minute break at 4pm.

Sparking the motion for the adjournment was a complaint registered by Lobamba MP Majahodvwa Khumalo who reminded the House about a concern registered by his brother and Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo about the lack of a functioning air conditioning system within the chamber, which was subjecting the legislators to unbearable cold.

Deputy Speaker Esther Dlamini, who was chairing the proceedings, informed the MPs that there was nothing that could be done about the system. She said after MP Marwick had registered the concern, the office of the Clerk to Parliament engaged the services of a company, which attempted to fix the air conditioning system. However, they discovered that the system could not be fixed, but a completely new system needed to be installed.


MP Marwick took up the matter and stated that it was too cold inside the chamber such that his feet were numb. A number of my colleagues are waiting for the break so that they can go and bask in the sun in order to retain some heat. Some honourables are no longer attending sittings due to the cold while others come in here and keep quiet due to the same problem. We are not interested in explanations but we want the system fixed. I, therefore, move that the House should adjourn until the problem is fixed, said MP Marwick.

He was seconded by Ntfonjeni MP Henry Dlamini. Agriculture Minister Clement Dlamini wondered if the air conditioner could not, at least, be switched off and was informed by the Deputy Speaker that it was not even functioning.

Lubulini MP Timothy Myeni differed from his colleagues and stated that he could not feel the cold and was actually feeling warm while Nkhaba MP Enock Dlamini felt adjourning the sitting was a bit radical and suggested that at least some heaters should be purchased.

This call was seconded by MP Thuli Dladla who said Parliament staff should go and buy the heaters during the 15 minute break.

However, MP Marwick shot up and reminded the House that his brother had raised the matter on Standing Order 58 (2), which is used whenever there were prevailing conditions that were making it impossible for the House to function. He also reminded them that such a Standing Order had been invoked before when there was no water in the Parliament toilets and the House had been adjourned indefinitely. Business resumed once the problem was fixed.

In the end, the Deputy Speaker called on the Agriculture Minister to move for an adjournment until Wednesday by which time it is hoped that the heating system would have been fixed.

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