Concourt rules in favour of opposition

By Drum Digital
09 October 2012

Rules which regulated the introduction of bills in Parliament's National Assembly were unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said the rules which stated that permission was needed were inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid.

He said the majority interpretation of the judges of sections of the Constitution, which allowed National Assembly members to prepare legislation and introduce bills, led them to the conclusion that the assembly may not create rules which undermined the powers given by the Constitution.

The National Assembly was allowed to regulate its business in a manner it deemed best, but it was not allowed to do it in a way which "renders the powers of individual members hollow or inconsequential".

This had to be taken into account by the National Assembly when it was making rules.

This came after Inkatha Freedom Party member Mario Oriani-Ambrosini tried to introduce a bill in the National Assembly in 2009 without getting permission.

The speaker of the National Assembly refused him permission to introduce it because he did not follow the rules.

Oriani-Ambrosini challenged the constitutional validity of the rules in the Western Cape High Court. This was dismissed.

He then applied to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the judgment.

The Constitutional Court declared that those provisions of the rules which imposed, reinforced or were inextricably linked to a permission requirement, were constitutionally invalid.

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