Parliament's ethics committee a 'political hit squad' - MPs

2016-09-13 21:24
Parliament. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Parliament. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – Parliament's ethics committee was on Tuesday referred to as a political hit squad and kangaroo court that was on a witch-hunt against opposition parties.

The National Assembly on Tuesday resolved to establish a joint ad hoc committee to reconsider allegations that Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane had not declared his assets on time.

The committee will have 14 members; with eight from the ruling party, three from the Democratic Alliance, one from the Economic Freedom Fighters and two MPs from other parties.

It will also include nine members from the National Council of Provinces.

The establishment of the committee comes after the ethics committee accused Maimane of failing to disclose sponsorships received in support of his campaign in the build-up to the party's elective conference last year.

Maimane, however, maintained that all funds were handled by his campaign manager. 

Court teaching Parliament a lesson

The DA took the matter to court in March, where the Western Cape High Court found that the committee had not followed its own rules in fining Maimane seven days' pay for failing to declare assets.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu on Tuesday tabled a motion in the National Assembly for the establishment of the ad hoc joint committee in terms of joint rule 138.

This after the Western Cape High Court ruled that none of the members of the joint committee on ethics and members' interests may participate in the process of reconsidering the matter.

Making declarations on the motion, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said they were at that point because the Western Cape High Court had to teach Parliament a lesson in how to manage its affairs again.

They needed an ethics committee that was fair, he said.

"It should not be a political hit squad. We can't have members from one side of the house treated differently."

No fig leaf big enough

Ethics committee chairperson Amos Masondo in turn accused the DA of playing dirty. The ethics committee had done an excellent job, he said. 

"The reason they are making so much noise is because for the first time, members of the DA were brought in front of the committee."

The Economic Freedom Fighters accused the ANC of turning the ethics committee into a kangaroo court.

There was no fig leaf big enough to cover the ANC's nakedness in Parliament, the EFF said.
They would not agree to the establishment of the new committee as long as President Jacob Zuma led the ruling party, the EFF said in Parliament.

The Inkatha Freedom Party said the ethics committee should not be used for witch-hunting, but should be above politics. 

The new committee has to report back by November 6.

Read more on:    amos masondo  |  jackson mthembu  |  parliament 2016

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