The Western Cape High Court’s order this week is yet another turning point in this fifth Parliament as it is now the second time that a court has found Parliament to have breached the Constitution, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
“While the order to reconstitute the joint committee on ethics and members’ interests represents an opportunity for the ANC in Parliament to return this committee back into the unbiased body that it was under the former leadership of [ANC MP] Ben Turok, this can only happen if the current registrar Ms Fazela Mohamed is replaced,” DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said.
As the third respondent in the matter the committee could not be reconstituted and still be advised by Mohamed. It was her advice which led the chairpersons of the committee to breach the “fundamental rules of procedural justice, the Constitution” and ”the very code of ethics they are required to enforce”, he said.
Not only should Mohamed not participate in the reconsideration of the current matter but she should not be allowed to continue in the position of registrar given the damning findings by the Western Cape High Court.
“In order for the ethics committee of Parliament to be returned to its rightful place, poised to combat corruption in an unbiased manner, and to legitimately hold all MPs accountable, free of party politicisation, Ms Mohamed must be replaced alongside the current chairpersons in the reconstituted committee.
“The DA looks forward to working together with the new committee to ensure that this ruling of the court ensures a fresh and clean approach going forward,” Steenhuisen said.
On Thursday, the Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of the DA and its leader Mmusi Maimane and ordered the committee to be reconstituted. The court found that “the committee did not follow fundamental rules of procedural justice, the Constitution, and at least the very code of ethics they are required to enforce”.
The case reportedly followed the committee’s ruling earlier this year that Maimane breached the code of conduct by allegedly failing to declare certain financial sponsorship. The committee did not even inform Maimane there was a complaint against him, and nor was he notified of any investigation or asked to respond. – African News Agency (ANA)