We are not cattle, say MPs

New technology, including the use of tags and fingerprints, could be used to monitor the attendance of MPs in Parliament.

This is according to an article on BDlive, which says that Parliament is canvassing political parties for their support.

The report says that the new system would see electronically garnered information falling within the duty of Parliament’s presiding officers, thereby replacing the current system which sees the chief whip of each party monitoring the attendance of their MPs.

The introduction of the system is scheduled for the start of the fifth Parliament after next year’s election, according to BDlive, and would use Radio frequency identification (RFI) – which is also used by farmers to monitor the movement of livestock.

Last week, the DA prevented the passing of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill in parliament after it walked out, having observed that the ANC did not have sufficient members in the house for a quorum on its own.

According to BusinessDay, a briefing document from Parliament’s IT department proposes a combination of RFI and fingerprint recognition, while scanners will also be used in committee rooms to record attendance. The document states that the system will cost less than R500,000.

Privacy issues have been raised in the document.

According to BusinessDay, DA chief whip “Watty” Watson said the DA caucus rejected the idea. “We are senior citizens who have been elected to Parliament by the people of SA and for us to be treated like sheep or cattle being counted is unacceptable.”

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We are not cattle, say MPs