DA threatens court action after Mbete refuses impeachment motion

2015-08-13 13:56
Baleka Mbete. Picture: Leanne Stander/Foto24

Baleka Mbete. Picture: Leanne Stander/Foto24

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The Democratic Alliance has threatened to bring an urgent application in court over Baleka Mbete’s refusal to allow a debate on a motion of impeachment against President Jacob Zuma. 

Mbete, the speaker of Parliament, opposed the DA’s request for a debate on the motion based on a legal opinion she sourced from parliament’s legal advisers. 

The motion pertains to the controversy surrounding Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who left the country earlier despite a court order prohibiting him to do so. 

The North Gauteng High Court ruled that South Africa had to detain Bashir while he was in the country for a two-day African Union summit in June. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane gave notice of the motion last week and also asked for an ad hoc committee to investigate the executive’s failure to take steps against Bashir’s departure from Waterkloof Air Force Base on the morning of the high court’s order. 

Mbete told Parliament’s programming committee this morning that she had sought legal advice and had refused the debate because the issue was sub judice. 

John Steenhuisen, DA chief whip, said that the sub judice rule was obsolete. 

“Your refusal based on this rule is misplaced. The Constitution gives MPs the right to freedom of speech and the sub judice rule cannot be used to prevent debate. You are prejudging this debate and what we will say, and are curtailing our rights to table motions.” 

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani interjected before Steenhuisen could fully explain his argument, saying the committee was not the place to discuss such legal issues. 

But Mbete stood her ground. 

“I am guided by the legal opinion and I have exercised my own mind. It [the debate] would create an untenable situation on an issue that is still before court.” 

Steenhuisen threatened to take the matter to court. 

This is just another attempt to protect President Jacob Zuma. Parliament does not belong to you madam speaker. The rule you are relying on is flawed and it will be overturned.” 

Mbete said it was his right to approach the court.

Read more on:    baleka mbete  |  parliament

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