National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise says the Constitutional Court judgement on Nkandla has had the effect of improving the oversight work conducted by parliament. Modise is testifying at the State Capture Commission in Johannesburg.

In March 2016, the Constitutional Court made a damning ruling that parliament was in breach of its constitutional mandate by not acting on the Public Protector’s report on the non-security upgrades at former President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

The Speaker at the time was of the view that the public protector’s recommendations were not binding.

Modise has given her opinion at the commission. “That decision of the court has actually empowered parliament to begin to do things properly; to respect the space of the Chapter Nine institutions; to respect the courts, but also to insist that it understands its mandate better and (that it) must execute (it).”

High turnover of MPs

Modise says the high turnover of members of parliament every five years allows the executive to wield power over parliament.

She says the high levels of attrition rob parliament of experience and expertise affecting the quality of oversight.

“The third arm of state actually unfolds and becomes an arm of the state and can really get the resources that it needs to do its job. You may not find that members want to become, one, cabinet ministers and therefore do not ask unnecessary question, two, they feel comfortable because the arm of state the legislative sector is strong enough protect all members irrespective of party affiliation.”

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise testifies before Commission:

Proceedings not affected by break-in

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture says criminals cannot halt the work of the Commission. This after electronic equipment, including two laptops, were stolen during a break-in at its offices in Parktown, Johannesburg, at the weekend.

The State Capture Commission of Inquiry’s Parktown office burgled:

Despite the incident, the commission still heard parliamentary oversight-related evidence from Modise, and National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Amos Masondo.

The commission’s Spokesperson Mbuyiselo Stemela says they understand that South Africa is crime-ridden.

“Indeed, that is concerning for the commission. However, we understand that we are living in a crime-ridden SA. We have reported this to the police and they are looking into it deeply and making sure this is not going to be happening in the life of the commission. The commission is dealing with very important national matters and issues that are very sensitive. So, we are very concerned about the people who came into our building to steal our computers.”

Justice Zondo says the commission will not be intimidated following break-in:

– Additional reporting by Risha Maduray.