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Mon Sep 01 20:40:14 SAST 2014

Sisulu warns MPs not to use courts rather parliamentary rules

Sapa | 27 December, 2012 12:34
Speaker of the National Assembly Max Sisulu. File photo.
Image by: Esa Alexander

MPs should use the review of the Parliamentary rules to air their grievances and not institute unfounded applications to the courts, National Assembly (NA) Speaker Max Sisulu said on Thursday.

"This year the NA witnessed an unprecedented number of court challenges from its members," Parliament said in a statement.

The court challenges included three failed attempts by opposition parties to force a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma before the end of the 2012 Parliamentary session.

"On 12 December 2012, a full bench of the Western Cape High Court unanimously dismissed an application against the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the NA, and found that they had acted within the Rules (of the NA) and the Constitution."

In November, two similar applications were dismissed, one in the same court, another in the Constitutional Court.

In one of the rulings, Judge Dennis Davis said: "Drawing the judiciary into every and all political disputes, as if there is no other forum to deal with a political impasse relating to policy... can only result in jeopardy for our constitutional democracy."

Sisulu reminded MPs that he had called for a comprehensive review of the rules during his budget vote speech earlier this year.

"This process has begun in earnest and a task team comprising Members of Parliament (MPs), together with former MPs from a range of political parties, are hard at work.

"Their task is to ensure that our Rules and practices are aligned to the Constitution, and at the same time allow the NA to perform its functions without any hindrance," said Sisulu.

Sisulu suggested MPs should engage in this process instead of running to the courts and making unsubstantiated claims.

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