Parliament defends Sisulu

2013-08-20 20:44
Parliament (Picture: Sapa)

Parliament (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Parliament has taken strong exception to the PAC accusing National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu of "abuse" of his office.

"The speaker acted impartially and in terms of the law when he swore in Mr Alton Mphethi as a member of the NA [National Assembly] to represent the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania on 15 August [this year]," it said in a statement.

"Parliament takes very seriously allegations accusing the speaker... of 'abuse of power' and 'acting illegally', when in fact the speaker gave effect to the Constitution."

It was reacting to a statement last Friday by a faction of the divided PAC regarding the swearing in of Mphethi as an MP.

"The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania has learnt with dismay the actions of the speaker of Parliament, Mr Maxwell Sisulu, on the illegal replacement of our member of Parliament, Mr Letlapa Mphahlele," spokesperson Apa Pooe said.

Mphahlele was expelled as party president at the end of May, after a meeting of its national disciplinary committee (NDC).

His backers then applied for a court interdict to stop Parliament from replacing him.

"While the court processes have not been concluded, the speaker meddled in the affairs of the PAC, swearing in a suspended member, Mr Alton Mphethi, as the member of Parliament representing the PAC," Pooe said.

The PAC was "definitely taking legal action, including reporting the abuse of office by [the] speaker to the public protector", he said at the time.

Guided by the Constitution

In its statement this week, Parliament said Sisulu had acted impartially and in terms of the law when he swore in Mphethi.

"In his functioning, the speaker is guided by the Constitution, the law, the rules of Parliament and parliamentary practice.

"Under the circumstances it was improper for a faction of the PAC representing Mr Mphahlele to question the impartiality and integrity of the speaker, as was done in the media."

On 31 May this year, the National Assembly was informed that Mphahlele was expelled from the PAC, and as its representative in the National Assembly.

Mphahlele had successfully challenged the expulsion in court.

"The PAC, however, appealed that decision, which had the effect of suspending the decision of the Court. There was thus nothing in law that prevented the operation of the provisions in the Constitution pertaining to membership of the NA and the concomitant duty to administer the oath or solemn affirmation on Mr Mpheti."

The PAC matter had been dealt with "in the same impartial manner as other cases of intra-party disputes, and it is regrettable that the party now seeks to undermine the office of the speaker, as well as Parliament".

Read more on:    pac  |  max sisulu  |  cape town  |  parliament 2013  |  politics

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