Assembly: MPs should use rules review

2013-08-28 07:30
Parliament (Picture: Sapa)

Parliament (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - MPs should use the review of rules process instead of resorting to "recurrent applications to the courts", the National Assembly said on Tuesday.

The Constitutional Court decided earlier on Tuesday to dismiss an application by the Democratic Alliance to compel Parliament to debate a vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

"There are processes within Parliament to address any grievances or oversights in the rules," the Assembly said in a statement.

"MPs are encouraged to take advantage of the review of the rules to ensure that the rules facilitate the discharge of their mandate rather than hinder them."

Rules unconstitutional

The Constitutional Court found that the legislature's rules on the matter were unconstitutional and had to be fixed.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said that, according to Parliament's rules, Speaker Max Sisulu did not have the power to schedule a motion of no confidence in Zuma.

"The Speaker acting alone has no residual power to schedule a motion of no confidence in the president to be debated and voted on in the Assembly, and... in any event, the relief sought in the appeal has become moot."

Moseneke said the primary purpose of a motion of no confidence was to ensure that the president and the national executive were accountable to the Assembly.

He found that rules regulating the Assembly were inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid.

"The rules of the Assembly must permit a motion of no confidence in the president to be formulated, discussed and voted for... within a reasonable time," he said.

"The extent that the rules regulating the Assembly do not vindicate the rights of the members of the Assembly in this respect, they are inconsistent with section 102(2) of the Constitution and invalid."

Review

The court ordered that the Assembly "correct the defect" in its rules, so that members or political parties could debate a motion of no confidence. Parliament was given six months to do this.

The Assembly said the process of reviewing the rules started last year.

"A multi-party sub-committee, which is assisted by former members and other experts, was set up to review the rules to ensure that they better reflected the provisions of the constitution."

A draft of the proposed review had been sent to parties for comment.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  politics  |  parliament 2013

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