Parliament cannot be held hostage by court processes

2015-02-19 14:53

Parliament cannot be held hostage by court processes.

This point was raised by Parliament’s programme committee during a discussion about Agang’s motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma. The motion was originally scheduled for debate on February 24.

Agang’s court case is still under way in the Constitutional Court. The party is asking that the voting for the motion should be secret and that the speaker excuse herself when the motion is being debated because her partiality has been called into question.

The Democratic Alliance’s request for a debate over the blocking of cellphone signal during the state of the nation address last Thursday – an issue that has also gone to court – is also under discussion.

According to Masibulele Xaso, secretary of the Nation Assemble, the speaker and Parliament’s legal representatives were considering the DA’s request.

“The issue has already gone to court,” he reminded MPs.

Fezile Bhengu, ANC whip, informed the committee about the Agang court case this morning and asked that the motion be removed from the programme for now.

But Narend Singh, Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip, asked how long they would have to wait for the court case.

“We can’t be held to ransom by court processes. It could carry on forever.”

Mike Waters, DA MP, reminded the committee that the Constitutional Court had previously ruled that all motions must be debated within a reasonable time.

“The motion must be placed on the programme or Agang must retract it.”

Doris Dlakude, deputy ANC chief whip, pointed out that it was a law issue and was thus “outside our control”, but “we are ready for it”.

Andries Tlouamma, Agang MP, cautioned that the party would not allow their right to the court to be handicapped by Parliament’s dates. He said the court would first have to give its verdict.

“We will apply for an interdict, should it be necessary.”


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