South Africa: Constitutional Court Dismisses Helen Suzman Foundation and my Vote Counts Application for Direct Access
The Constitutional Court ordered that the Rules of the National Assembly be amended to make provision for a procedure to give effect to section 89 without delay to comply with section 237 of the Constitution
A full bench of the Constitutional Court has dismissed an application from the Helen Suzman Foundation and My Vote Counts for direct access in a matter in which they request that the court directs the Speaker to initiate proceedings to give effect to section 89 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court considered the matter moot and also decided not to award costs.
The Economic Freedom Fighters and others had raised similar matters in an earlier application. The relief sought in that matter had been for the Court to declare that the Speaker of the National Assembly failed to hold the President Jacob Zuma accountable for violating the Constitution by failing to implement the 2014 report of the Public Protector. The Court was also asked to order the Speaker to convene a committee of Parliament or other independent body to investigate the former President’s conduct and determine whether he was guilty of an offence warranting Parliament exercising its powers to remove him in terms of section 89 of the Constitution.
In its majority judgment handed down on 29 December 2017, the Constitutional Court ordered that the Rules of the National Assembly be amended to make provision for a procedure to give effect to section 89 without delay to comply with section 237 of the Constitution, which instructs that all constitutional obligations be performed diligently and without delay.
As part of its overhaul of all the rules of the National Assembly, the Assembly had already initiated a process to outline a procedure to be followed in implementing section 89 of the Constitution. However, following the Constitutional Court’s judgement in December 2017, the National Assembly’s Subcommittee on Review of the Rules has focused specifically on finalising its review of the rules and procedures regarding removal of a President. A plenary sitting of the National Assembly would make the final decision.
The mootness of the Helen Suzman Foundation and My Vote Counts application was because the Court had already decided on a similar matter.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.