Parliament has referred the proposed rules for the removal of office-bearers of Chapter Nine institution, including the Office of Public Protector, to the subcommittee on rules. File picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Cape Town - Parliament has referred the proposed rules for the removal of office-bearers of Chapter Nine institution, including the Office of Public Protector, to the subcommittee on rules.

This after the parliamentary rules committee was briefed on a discussion document on the proposed rules. The DA has also submitted its own draft rules.

"We highlight grounds for removal of office-bearers - misconduct, incapacity and incompetence and finding by committee of the National Assembly and the adoption of a resolution calling for removal," Secretary to National Assembly Masixole Xaso said during his presentation.

Xaso said the documents dealt with with all Chapter Nine institutions.

He said consideration should be given to four stages when rules or procedures are drafted.

The discussion document envisaged initiation of a process, preliminary assessment of evidence, an inquiry by a committee and a decision by the House.

Xaso also said the current rules provided for two mechanism of initiating a process to look into fitness to hold office, which was a notice of a motion and writing to the Speaker asking for this process to be initiated.

"We want to propose the committee at the right time consider to agree on one procedure of a substantive motion."

He said the preliminary assessment of evidence was presently the responsibility of the Speaker, but there was need to clarify whether about the role of the Speaker, a committee or an independent panel.

"We think there needs to be a decision on how you deal with that stage."

Xaso also said when assessment of evidence was done, a report should be submitted to the National Assembly for a decision whether to go ahead with an inquiry.

"In the case of president where there is a panel, that report goes to the Speaker and the House. It is envisaged the House will pronounce itself on preliminary report of the panel before the rest of the process is undertaken.

"The risk you run is that the House can decide either way," he said.

"Where there is a panel and preliminary assessment, it should still be reported to the House so that it is aware as we move to the next stage of the process."

He said after the assessment of the evidence, the National Assembly should proceed with an inquiry and decide on special committee or adhoc committee of relevant portfolio to carry that task.

Xaso also said the rules should also deal with issues of legal representation by concerned parties.

"Importantly, any such determination should be made without undue delay given the consequence of the action against an office -bearer and the implications for the office they serve," he said.

Political Bureau