Parliament must rule OK, says ANC

2013-01-03 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Members of Parliament will have to meet on the rules of Parliament if the ANC’s Chief Whip, Mathole Motshekga, gets his way.

Yesterday he welcomed a request from the Speaker, Max Sisulu, that MPs should use the current process to review Parliament’s rules to improve them rather than use the courts for this.

Motshekga said the judiciary was placed in the unfair position last year in that it had to deliver verdicts on the “internal operational matters of another independent leg of the state — Parliament”.

Motshekga said it was not the court’s responsibility to “micro-manage” Parliament and that it was unfair to expect any judge to decide on political stalemates between political parties. A judge was the guardian of an institution that had its independence guaranteed in the Constitution.

He was referring to recent hearings — one last month when the Western Cape High Court ruled against a Democratic Alliance application to force the Speaker to allow a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be debated, and another in which the court ruled against an application brought by Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota that a ruling by Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo was not lawful.

Mothsekga said the trend to run to the courts was symptomatic of ignorance or misunderstanding about Parliament’s rules.

In view of these applications it was strongly recommended that Parliament consider a compulsory and comprehensive education session on its rules for all MPs when the current rules review process ended. He said he hoped this would help end unnecessary political infighting.

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