South Africa rejects request for Obama to address Parliament


The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has rejected a request for US President Barack Obama to address both houses of Parliament when he visits South Africa later this month, the party disclosed on Friday.

The request was put forward by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and Chairman of the National Council of Provinces Mninwa Mahlangu.

The DA requests that the two houses of Parliament convene a special joint-sitting to allow Mr Obama to address lawmakers on his official visit.

The ANC described the DA request as nothing but “a cynical publicity stunt.”

The request is “logically flawed,” ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said.

“It is important to note that in terms of international protocols, Parliament cannot invite a foreign head of state to address it.

President Obama is visiting this country as the guest of the South African Government, and not as a guest of Parliament, ” Mr Motshekga said.

The addressing of joint sittings of Parliament occurs only as a result of a joint arrangement between the host head of state and their visiting counterpart, said Mr Motshekga.

“The program of his visit therefore is determined jointly by the two governments. Parliament may therefore not hijack him, as suggested by the DA’s request,” Mr Motshekga said.

President Obama’s week-long African tour of Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania will run from June 26 to July 3, his first to Africa in his second term.

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