‘This parliament robbed our democracy’

FILE PICTURE: A general view of President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla home. Picture: AFP PHOTO / Stringer
FILE PICTURE: A general view of President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla home. Picture: AFP PHOTO / Stringer

NOTE: Article first appeared in The Citizen newspaper on May 1, 2014. 

The decision to dissolve the parliamentary ad hoc committee tasked with investigating the Nkandla debacle is unlawful and unconstitutional, a constitutional law expert said yesterday.

Professor Shadrack Gutto, constitutional law expert at the University of SA, said the decision to dissolve the committee and defer the matter to the new parliament appointed after the elections is “not legal and not constitutional”.

Gutto said the current sitting committee “does not have the powers to defer the matter. They can’t order the new parliament to do their work”.

ANC MPs voted as a majority on Monday to dissolve the parliamentary ad hoc committee, stating there was not enough time for the committee to investigate the matter before election day.

Gutto bluntly said: “The ad hoc committee had simply decided not to do the work it should be doing.”

He said this decision would not make the matter go away, as “serious maladministration and unjust enrichment from public funds by the president and his family” needed to be investigated in Parliament.

Members of opposition parties have said they will pursue the matter.

Gutto said: “This Parliament will go down in history as one that robbed our democracy by not complying with legal and constitutional regulations.”

He said the reasons why the committee had to be dissolved were “irrelevant and wrong.”

The newly elected members of Parliament will sit for the first time on May 21.

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