The Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, has on Tuesday welcomed the North Gauteng High Court’s ruling to set aside Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkwebane’s remedial action on her report.
The report identifies with Mkwebane’s investigations into allegations of an improper relationship between President Cyril Ramaphosa and African Global Operations (formerly Bosasa
Modise is the second applicant into the matter.
Mkwebane had restricted her application to the remedial actions and monitoring mechanisms directed at the Speaker of the National Assembly.
As a result, Modise had requested 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 court found the remedial action were founded on an erroneous perception 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 didn’t have the powers to instruct the President to disclose in the Register of Members’ Interests the donation received by CR17 Campaign as the Code 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 on 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.