Editorial | Mervyn Dirks must be defended

accreditation
Dirks’ big sin was that he wrote to the chairperson of the select committee on public accounts (Scopa). Photo: Supplied
Dirks’ big sin was that he wrote to the chairperson of the select committee on public accounts (Scopa). Photo: Supplied

VOICES


This week, Pemmy Majodina, the ANC’s chief whip in Parliament, wrote to senior MP Mervyn Dirks informing him about his immediate suspension and the stripping of his influential caucus role.

She told him that she was initiating disciplinary action against him following his “conduct unbecoming of a whip of the ANC parliamentary caucus, a position of leadership in the ANC caucus”.

Dirks’ big sin was that he wrote to the chairperson of the select committee on public accounts (Scopa), Mkhuleko Hlengwa, requesting a probe into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s conduct and his subsequent refusal to withdraw the request.

READ: Scopa presses on with Ramaphosa audio leak inquiry

This followed the leaking of an audio recording in which Ramaphosa is heard telling the ANC’s national executive committee about his knowledge of the use of public funds for internal party campaigning, and even encouraging the cover-up of such activities.

The ANC has not called Ramaphosa to account for this, despite the organisation’s promises of an intensified fight against corruption. This could be attributed to the dominant faction in the party not wanting to rock the boat.

Dirks, an ardent supporter of former president Jacob Zuma and a prominent member of the so-called radical economic transformation (RET) faction, had no hesitation.

Whatever his ulterior factionalist motives, Dirks should not be crushed for holding the executive to account. That is the duty of Parliament.

As Dirks correctly pointed out in his letter to Majodina, she should indicate in writing if his letter to Scopa “is in breach of any parliamentary rules and procedures or in conflict with the Constitution of the country, which is the supreme law”, and whether the said letter is “in conflict with my oath of office”.

READ: Sisulu rebukes president; denies retraction and apology

He also asks: “What informs the decision to instruct me not to play my oversight role?”

Civil society and all those who are committed to defending democracy and its institutions should stand up for Dirks, regardless of affiliation to Zuma and the RET faction.

They must be guided by principle and consistency.


facebook
twitter
linkedin
instagram

Delivering the 

news you need

+27 11 713 9001
news@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24

E-Editions

Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
A new report by the Electoral Integrity Project, which looks at the quality of electoral integrity worldwide, has identified South Africa as having the second-highest level of integrity in its elections in Africa. Do you agree with the report?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No
44% - 56 votes
Yes
28% - 36 votes
We should be first
28% - 36 votes
Vote