MPs have absolute immunity in Parliament, committee hears

2016-09-14 21:10
The National Assembly. (Paul Herman, News24)

The National Assembly. (Paul Herman, News24)

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

Cape Town - Parliament's ad hoc committee on powers and privileges has heard it is unconstitutional to remove an MP from the precinct for anything they have said in the House.

The committee met on Wednesday to discuss the implications of the Constitutional Court's March ruling that it was unconstitutional for police to forcibly remove MPs while they are in chambers.

Section 11 of the Powers Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislature Act (PPIPPLA) needed to redefine the word "person" to exclude MPs in order for the Act to remain constitutional, legal representative Daksha Kassan told the committee.

"The Constitution supersedes the Act," she said.

"The ConCourt's majority ruling made it clear that MPs' right to freedom of speech can only be regulated in Parliament's rules and orders, but cannot be legislated in an Act."

Forcibly removing or threatening MPs with arrest amounted to a "chilling effect" on robust debate in the House, she said, referencing the judgment.

However, MPs could be asked to leave the House if their actions are deemed as contributing to a "disturbance".

Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Mazzone also said the committee needs to unpack what the guarantee of "absolute immunity" for MPs meant in the Act.

"It will help us understand the extent of MPs' protection when they are speaking in the House."

Committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga wanted to know if an MP's removal from the House meant they must vacate the entire precinct.

Kassan said that technically the Speaker had authority over the entire precinct, including courtyards and gardens, but that simply leaving the House was sufficient in most cases.

Read more on:    parliament 2016

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
 

6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
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.