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The KwaZulu-Natal legislature has denied allegations that it recently removed a picture of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa from its walls.
“We wish to place on record that these allegations are false,” said spokesperson Wonder Hlongwa on Thursday, in response to claims made in a media report.
“The pictures of [President Jacob] Zuma, Ramaphosa, the premier and the speaker had been there at the dining hall,” DA leader in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature Zwakele Mncwango told News24.
He said the party had sent someone to the legislature on Wednesday to verify if Ramaphosa’s picture had indeed been removed.
“Ramaphosa’s picture was definitely removed. They should not have removed Ramaphosa’s picture because, when Zuma was still the deputy president, his picture was there,” Mncwango said.
He claimed the removal of the picture was connected to factionalism within the ANC.
Hlongwa said since 1994, the KwaZulu-Natal legislature had only recognised the president as the head of state, the premier as the head of the provincial executive, and the speaker as the head of the provincial legislature.
“The KZN legislature, of its own volition, took the initiative many years ago to recognise all presidents, deputy presidents, premiers, speakers and deputy speakers by hanging their pictures on the walls of the dining hall for posterity. This is an initiative that does not exist in any other institution that we’re aware of,” he explained.
He said Ramaphosa’s photograph was never put up because the accounting officer had raised concerns around the manner in which the photos were placed, and “the fact that all the frames were not uniform and had different backgrounds”.
“The protocol officer has been working on addressing this as part of a broader project of revamping the wall of frames and signage and galleries in the legislature,” he said.
There was no consistency in South Africa over the protocol relating to hanging of official photographs, and that no cognizance was taken of the fact that the legislature was a separate arm of government, he said.
“Different legislatures are currently doing different things, because what we currently have is a government framework which does not take into consideration the needs and the nature of the legislature.”
Hlongwa said there was a task team working on developing a framework for protocol, stakeholder engagement and international relations.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu’s spokesperson Ndabe Sibiya said he was not aware of the matter.
“Rather deal with the legislature, as they are another arm of state, and not the executive,” he said.