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Nic Dawes, Tanya Farber16 Jul 2007 00:00
If Mbulelo Goniwe wants to get his parliamentary salary back, it will not be enough to sue the legislature; he is going to have to take the ANC to court, too.
‘Members of the National Assembly are members of the National Assembly at the instance of their respective political parties [and] they serve at the pleasure of their parties. The speaker [of the National Assembly] has got nothing to do with it,” Judge James Yekiso told Ntsiki Sandi, Goniwe’s counsel.
Sandi agreed that the ANC would now have to be made a party to the lawsuit, which has cited only Parliament, speaker Baleka Mbete, and secretary Zingile Dingani.
Goniwe’s legal team wants the Cape High Court to compel Parliament to restore the former ANC chief whip’s pay, which was stopped after a party disciplinary committee found him guilty of sexually harassing a party employee.
He was expelled from the party and removed from Parliament, but the decision of the disciplinary committee was overturned.
Sandi argued that, since decisions made at the disciplinary hearing had been set aside when the hearing was declared flawed, it went without saying that the status quo should be restored, and that meant Goniwe’s salary too.
‘When the MEC set aside the decisions made at the hearing because it (sic) was deemed to be flawed, it meant all the decisions,” Sandi argued. ‘This means that we start afresh.”
The court has now decided to postpone the case until Goniwe decides to include the ANC as a respondent.
Nic Dawes is the Mail & Guardian's editor-in-chief.
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