Parliament, Monday, 29 January 2024 – The Western Cape High Court today dismissed Ms Dipuo Peters’ urgent application to stop Parliament from implementing her suspension from her seat in all parliamentary debates, sittings, and committee meeting-related functions for one term of the parliamentary programme. In October 2023, after considering a complaint lodged against her, the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests found that Ms Peters had breached the Code of Ethical Conduct in her former portfolio as Minister of Transport. As a result, Ms Peters was sanctioned and suspended for one term. #UniteBehind leader and activist, Mr Zackie Achmat lodged the complaint with several allegations, including that Ms Peters “was neglectful in her previous portfolio as Minister of Transport by failing to appoint a Group CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA)”. The complaint also alleged that the Member dismissed the Molefe Board, seemingly because it had uncovered R14 billion in irregular expenditure and instituted investigations into corruption at PRASA. It was also alleged that she used PRASA busses for ANC events during 2014 and 2015 without ensuring payment from the ANC, among others. Following deliberations, the ethics committee found that the Member’s failure to appoint a Group CEO breached items 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 of the code, in that the Member failed to act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in her; and discharge her obligations, in terms of the Constitution, to Parliament and the public at large, by placing the public interest above her own interests when she failed to appoint a Group CEO after the PRASA Board had commissioned a recruitment process, which resulted in a financial loss of R1 767 000. The committee advised the National Assembly that for each of the three violations identified, the member should be barred from participating in all parliamentary debates and sessions, as well as from committee meetings and their related activities and operations, for one session of the parliamentary programme. Additionally, the committee suggested that the suspensions for all three violations occur simultaneously during a single session of the parliamentary programme, as decided by the National Assembly. We concur with the presiding judge’s finding that there was no valid justification for the application to be heard on an urgent basis as the Member was cognisant of the committee’s conclusions and the penalties it proposed on 26 October 2023, which she acknowledged receiving. Her intent to contest the committee’s conclusions, expressed on 28 November, also confirms this awareness. We appreciate the Court's sentiments regarding the importance of allowing Parliament, as an arm of state, to regulate its business without interference from other arms of the state. Granting relief to delay the enforcement of this sanction would essentially invalidate a decision taken by a different arm of the state, exercising its constitutional oversight responsibilities, especially given its time-sensitive nature, where there is no legal foundation to do so. Ms Peters will be placed on suspension commencing tomorrow, 30 January, with the suspension expected to last until 28 March. The application was dismissed with costs. ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA Enquiries: Mr Moloto Mothapo – Parliament Spokesperson