Concourt ruling is a 'game changer'
The Constitutional Court's judgment that rules which regulated the introduction of bills were unconstitutional is a game changer, IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said on Tuesday.
"[It] takes South African democracy onto a new and higher level of engagement, which is finally on par with all established democracies of the world," Oriani-Ambrosini said in a statement.
"This judgment removes what was one of the major shames in our democracy."
In his judgment on Tuesday, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said the rules which stated that permission was needed were inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid.
This came after Oriani-Ambrosini tried to introduce a bill in the National Assembly in 2009. The speaker of the National Assembly refused him permission to introduce it because he did not follow the rules.
Oriani-Ambrosini challenged the constitutional validity of the rules in the Western Cape High Court. This was dismissed. He then applied to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the judgment.
The Constitutional Court declared that those provisions of the rules which imposed, reinforced, or were inextricably linked to a permission requirement, were constitutionally invalid.
Oriani-Ambrosini said the judgment opened the door for laws to be drafted and introduced in Parliament by MPs who were not Cabinet members or deputy ministers.
"In the past 18 years, legislation has been drafted almost exclusively at the executive level and has been introduced by ministers. MPs have often acted as rubber-stampers and always been seized by the legislative initiative of the executive branch of government."
He said he hoped MPs would become more active.
The permission requirement had been used to stop opposition party members from introducing legislation and silencing African National Congress back-benchers.
"With this judgment we have opened a door. It will be up to the initiative, courage and foresight of other MPs to walk through it," Oriani-Ambrosini said.