Parliament, Tuesday 10 March 2020 – Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Thandi Modise, welcomes the Gauteng High Court’s decision to set aside the remedial actions directed by the Public Protector in her report on an investigation into allegations of an improper relationship between the President and African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa).
Ms Modise was the second applicant in the matter. She limited her application to the remedial actions and monitoring mechanisms directed at the Speaker of the National Assembly.
The Speaker had asked the court to review, declare invalid and set aside these remedial actions and monitoring measures, on the basis that they were unlawful. In setting aside the Public Protector’s remedial actions and monitoring mechanism, the court found that they were inappropriate, ineffective, encroached on Parliament’s constitutional functions and responsibilities and were contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers.
The remedial actions were founded on an erroneous comprehension of the Ethical Code of Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests and its scope of application and, thus, made their implementation impractical. The Court agreed that the Speaker did not have the powers to instruct the President to disclose in the Register of Members’ Interests the donations received by CR17 Campaign as the Code primarily applied to serving Members of Parliament. President Ramaphosa ceased to be a member when he was elected President on February 2018.
The court also found that the Public Protector’s directive that Parliament implement her observations, including possible amendment of the rules dealing with questions and answers in the House, was inappropriate and an “unwarranted encroachment in the Speaker’s discretionary powers”.
The Speaker is pleased with the judgment because it clarifies the powers of the Public Protector as they relate to Parliament and further reinforces the principles of separation of powers upon which our constitutional democracy is based.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
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