The Western Cape High Court has struck African National Congress (ANC) member of Parliament (MP) Mervyn Dirks’ application regarding his suspension, off the roll with costs.
Dirks brought an application to interdict ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina from suspending him as a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
Judge Andre Le Grange found that Dirks had failed to prove that the matter was urgent.
He said that Dirks was free to participate in the meeting as an MP because he has not been suspended as a MP.
Dirks was suspended as a whip of Scopa last week for his refusal to withdraw a letter he wrote to Scopa, at the end of last year, asking it to investigate President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This was after the emergence of a sound clip wherein the President allegedly admits to knowledge of state funds being used for internal ANC campaigns.
The ANC in Parliament instructed Dirks to withdraw his letter to Scopa. When he failed to do this, he was removed as a member and whip of Scopa.
Scopa has on the other hand decided to go ahead with the investigation despite Dirks’ suspension. It called a meeting for Tuesday. It is this meeting that saw Dirks make an urgent application to the high court to set aside his suspension because he wanted his voting rights in the committee restored.
Here’s a brief exchange between Advocate Nikiwe Nyathi responding and Justice Andre Le Grange on why Dirks can’t attend the meeting as an ordinary MP.
” My lord he has a voting right by virtue of his position as a member of Scopa. When he was invited at that point in time, it was when the office of the Chief Whip had placed him on precautionary suspension, not in compliance with the ANC constitution itself, not in compliance with the rule of the NA… Because he was unlawfully removed or suspended as a member of Scopa any alternative that is placed in the 11th position would not be legal.”
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi for Majodina and the ANC argued that the matter was not urgent and asked the court to dismiss it. He said Dirks had no right to insist on voting at the meeting his presence there is solely at the discretion of the party.
“He has no right to vote at particular meetings. It’s purely political. Those are decisions of the ANC about how to utilise its human resources in Parliament. So the mere fact that he complains that his one vote will not be counted will not result in any illegality whatsoever, the decision will be made by majority vote. The ANC will retain its majority status in that committee.”
In the end judge, Le Grange decided against the application.
“The applicant in my view has failed to show that this matter was sufficiently urgent The application is struck from the roll with costs.”
Dirks’ application struck off the roll with costs: