Thandi Modise refers Bantu Holomisa’s request on Public Protector impeachment to rules committee
Cape Town - NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise has referred UDM leader Bantu Holomisa’s concerns about the composition of the committee that will conduct an inquiry into Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office to the rules committee.
Last month, Modise announced a 26-member committee that will enquire into whether there are grounds or not for the removal from office of Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
The committee is formed by 26 members from each of the 14 political parties represented in the National Assembly, but only 11 will enjoy voting status and 15 others will be non-voting members.
Only the IFP and Freedom Front Plus will enjoy voting status as part of the small parties.
But, Holomisa wrote to Modise last week saying all parties should have equal voting status.
He said it was important that the individual party positions and views were reflected in all the decision-making processes of Parliament, starting with the committee process.
Holomisa charged that he found it problematic, wholly undemocratic and unconstitutional for Parliament to take away the right of small parties to vote in the committee conducting the inquiry into the fitness of Mkhwebane to hold office.
He did not accept that the IFP and Freedom Front Plus would vote on behalf of 11 smaller parties.
“This practice both undermines the role of smaller parties in Parliament and violates their right to participate fully in all the decision-making processes of Parliament.
“The current ‘system’ of merely satisfying the letter of parliamentary processes, but not honouring the spirit of democracy and participation is flawed and smaller parties cannot be treated as token,” Holomisa said in his letter before asking each party have a weighted vote as determined by the percentage of the electorate they represented.
On Tuesday, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Modise has responded to Holomisa’s correspondence.
“Ms Modise said she would refer these concerns to the National Assembly rules committee to consider the implications of varying the current approach,” Mothapo said.
He also said the constitution provided the National Assembly to determine its own internal arrangements with due regard to representative democracy.
Mothapo said the parliamentary rules also provided for the participation of minority parties in a manner consistent with democracy.
“Because of the nature of party proportional representation and practical necessities, the practice has been to limit the composition of committees, while at the same time allowing that any member can attend any committee,” Modise said in her reply to Holomisa.
She, however, noted that some ad hoc committees have had different compositions to that of portfolio committees.
“In her reply to Mr Holomisa’s letter, dated April 12, Ms Modise said she would refer these concerns to the rules committee to consider the implications of varying the current approach,” Mothapo said.