It's unconstitutional for cops to remove MPs from Parliament - ConCourt

2016-03-18 12:56
Chaos in Parliament (Rodger Bosch, AP)

Chaos in Parliament (Rodger Bosch, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has ruled that the law which allows police to remove MPs from Parliament is unconstitutional.

However, it would not confirm the declaration of the constitutional invalidity of section 11 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act made by the Western Cape High Court, it said in its order handed down on Friday.

The omission of the words "other than a member" after the word "person" at the beginning of section 11 of the Act was declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution.

In a majority judgment, Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga said: "If 'person' in section 11 of the Act does not include a member, then the constitutional issue of an infringement – by the section – of the parliamentary privilege of freedom of speech does not arise.

"The matter must end there; and there cannot be confirmation of the high court’s declaration of constitutional invalidity. If it does, then I must engage in the confirmation debate. The question is: does it? It does."

Different order

The Constitutional Court found that the high court had correctly found section 11 to be constitutionally invalid, but that it was necessary to make a different order.

"The high court declared the provision invalid 'to the extent that it permits a member to be arrested for conduct that is protected by sections 58(1)(b) and 71(1)(b) of the Constitution.

"That order is not apposite. The invalidity of section 11 stems from the fact that the section applies to members," according to the judgment.

On the question of whether to suspend the declaration of constitutional invalidity, the Constitutional Court found that Parliament's rules made it possible to deal with errant members effectively, including removing them from the Chamber forcibly.

"When the order made... takes effect, Parliament will not be left unable to deal with members who cause or take part in disturbances."

The court did not see a need for a suspension.

In May last year, the high court declared that Section 11 of the Powers and Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act was inconsistent with the Constitution, and thus invalid.

The court found that the argument that members would disrupt Parliament’s functions with impunity, without certain legislation governing their conduct, was "unconvincing".

Application

The Democratic Alliance had brought an application to the court, questioning the right to remove or arrest parliamentary members who caused disturbances.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise had invoked section 11 during President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address on February 12, 2015, calling on Parliamentary staff and security forces to forcefully remove members of the EFF from the joint sitting as a result of disturbances that were caused.

EFF members had risen on a point of privilege or point of order after being dissatisfied with the manner in which Mbete dealt with a question about when Zuma was going to pay back money he was said to owe for his Nkandla homestead.

Read more on:    da  |  parliament 2016  |  parliament 2015

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/News
 

Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.