New bills: MP challenges rule

2010-06-28 00:00

INKATHA Freedom Party Member of Parliament Mario Oriani-Ambrosini has launched a high court application to declare unconstitutional the rules of the National Assembly that have deprived MPs, particularly members of the opposition, from introducing legislation. The respondent is the Speaker of the National Assembly, Maxwell Sisulu.

Oriani-Ambrosini pointed out that the court application is a technical necessity because of rules that exist since the apartheid era. “No disrespect is meant towards the speaker or criticism towards him personally implied. The problem is institutional and is rooted in the autocratic tradition of the pre-1994 apartheid parliament.”

According to the IFP MP, the rules allow only the government to introduce legislation.

“An MP wishing to introduce a Bill needs to first obtain the permission of the Private Members’ Committee, which is controlled by the majority party. In addition, this committee routinely asks government whether it should grant such permission, and follows what governments suggests. Therefore an MP cannot introduce a bill unless permitted by government,

“Moreover, an MP who is not from the ruling party cannot introduce a bill without the permission of the ruling party. This subverts parliamentary democracy,” he said.

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