Facebook spat: Dirks found guilty

2019-04-03 16:17
Former Msunduzi deputy mayor Mervyn Dirks.

Former Msunduzi deputy mayor Mervyn Dirks. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg MP Mervyn Dirks (pictured), who has been ordered by a parliamentary committee to apologise after being found guilty for posting an “offensive” statement on Facebook, will not be making any apology.

“I’m appealing the findings as they are not based on any evidence that was brought before the committee,” he said.

Dirks, who was previously in hot water for allegedly showing a middle finger to MPs during a parliamentary sitting, was found guilty of breaching the MPs’ ethical code of conduct by Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and disclosure of members’ interests.

The ANC MP had allegedly called a DA member a dog during a heated debate on Facebook.

In a letter dated March 13 and addressed to Dirks, the committee chairperson, Advocate Anthea Gordon, said the ANC MP had failed to attend the meeting where the complaint against him was discussed by the committee.

Dirks, Gordon continued, had also failed to furnish the committee with written representation.

“The committee found that you breached items 4.1.5 and 4.1.6 of the Code as you were required to maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of Parliament and thereby engender the respect and confidence that society needs to have in Parliament as a representative institution,” Gordon’s letter said.

The committee then ordered Dirks to tender an apology during the National Assembly’s earliest sitting.

However, Dirks, who denied the committee’s claim that he failed to provide it with written representation, said he would not be apologising as the processes leading to him being found guilty were flawed.

“My lawyers wrote to the committees requesting for details of the complaint but nothing was forthcoming from the committee.

“The committee also could not explain why Parliament was being involved in an issue that did not happen in Parliament. All what the committee was interested in was to find me guilty — they were not interested in my representation and anything that could show that I have no case to answer,” he said.

In 2017 ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu requested Parliament to take steps against Dirks after the Pietermaritzburg politician had allegedly threatened a female ANC MP with violence during a National Assembly sitting.

However, no action was taken against Dirks on the matter.

Dirks said the rumour that he had threatened the MP was spread by those individuals wanting him ejected from Parliament for his political beliefs.

“It was all lies — I never threatened anyone,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  mervyn dirks

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