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Parli verdict: DA’s victory “misleading” - ANC

By Charl Bosch - May 13, 2015
Parli verdict: DA’s victory “misleading” - ANC

The African National Congress (ANC) has branded the granting of an application by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to halt police intervention in Parliament as “academic”, and that the party claiming it to be a victory for democracy was “misleading”.

Speaking in a statement, party Chief Whip Stone Sizani, said that the Western Cape High Court’s ruling to declare section 11 of the Constitution illegal would have little bearing as the “application was neither intended to challenge the constitutionality of the Speaker’s ruling nor her conduct”.

“The DA’s claim that this judgment represents some sort of victory against the Speaker of Parliament or the institution is grossly misleading,” News24 quoted Sizani as saying.

“It has never been the intention of either the presiding officers or the Act to arrest MPs on the basis of their utterances. The Act only directs presiding officers to call for the arrest of MPs strictly for criminal offences. No MPs has ever been arrested for utterances made in Parliament as MPs’ freedom of speech is jealously guarded in the Constitution”.

In a statement, DA leader Mmusi Maimane descried the act’s abolishment, which allowed the speaker to call for security intervention in case of a disturbance, as a victory for democracy and the upholding of Parliament as an independent body from the state.

“We have seen the interests of the South African people sidelined in Parliament in order to protect a corrupt Executive from accountability,” said Maimane.

“The judgment also sends a message to the Speaker of the National Assembly that the Constitutional principle of separation of powers cannot be overruled to serve narrow political interests”.

In passing his verdict yesterday, Judge Andre Le Grange stated that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete’s decision to invocate the act following the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) disruption of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address on February 12th, was uncalled for and that the rule was “constitutionally flawed”.

Reacting to the ruling, EFF National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, said that Mbete’s decision to deploy police, whom he referred to as “waiters in black and white clothes”, was simply to protect Zuma from accepting accountability for the R246-million security upgrades at his private Nkanda home, and that the party will not hesitate in taking her to court for using force to remove them from the House.

“This court decision demonstrates that EFF possesses a superior understanding of the law of the country and that its mechanisms to hold the executive accountable are well within the law,” Ndlozi said.

“President Zuma must be rest assured that for as long as he does not answer the question adequately, it will always stalk him when he comes to parliament. There is no police force in the world that will be able to protect him from that because the Constitution of South Africa does not allow it

Parliament has since announced that it will appeal Le Grange’s decision.