EFF LETTER TO THE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON THE ILLEGAL SWEARING IN OF ZWANE AS MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
On the 1st of October 2015, the Economic Freedom Fighters wrote a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly to alert her of the fact that Mr. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane was illegally sworn in as a Member of Parliament. We have given the Speaker the time to respond to our letter and she has not done so, and we will therefore begin the other processes as announced in the letter.
THE LETTER TO THE SPEAKER IS AS FOLLOWS:
THE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, Hon Baleka Mbete
Parliament of the Republic of South Africa
1 Parliament Street, Cape Town
01 October 2015
MR MOSEBENZI ZWANE’S MEMBERSHIP OF PARLIAMENT IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW:
The Economic Freedom Fighters writes to bring to your attention that the swearing in of Mr. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane as a Member of Parliament is not in accordance with the Law, particularly the Electoral Act 73 of 2008.
On the 7th of May 2015, the Secretary to the National Assembly wrote a letter to Chief Whips and Party Representatives, which amongst other things, said under the subtitle of “REVIEW OF LISTS”:
“In terms of Schedule 1A to the Electoral Act (Act No 73 of 1998), read with Section 57A, political parties are entitled to review the following lists of candidates for the purposes of filling vacancies in the National Assembly: -
National list for National Assembly; and
Regional list for National Assembly.
The first opportunity for parties to review lists of candicates for the National Assembly is within seven days after the expiry of the first 12 moths following the date on which canidates were designated by the Electoral Commission (Item 21 of Schedule 1A to the Electoral Act).
The candidates for the National Assembly were designated by the Electoral Commission on 13 May 2014. The review of lists of candidates to fill vacancies in the National Assembly may therefore take place from Thursday, 14 May 2015, until Wednesday 20 May 2015. The lists that may be reviewed in this period are the candiditate lists of the Electoral Commission.
The practice is that the names of the current members of the National Assembly do not appear on reviewed lists to the National Assembly. However, the names of current Assembly members may be on lists for provincial legislatures and the names of the members of provincial legislatures may be on the national or regional lists for National Assembly”.
The letter from the Secretary to the National Assembly, was a confirmation of Item 21 of Schedule 1A, of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998 which says, “A party may review its undepleted lists as supplemented in terms of items 18, 19, and 20, WITHIN 7 days after the expriry of the period referred to in item 19, and annualy thereafter, until the date on which a party has to submit lists of candidates of an ensuing election, in the following manner:
All vacancies may be supplemented
No more than 25% of candidates may be replaced; and
The fixed order of lists may be changed”.
Item 22 of Scefule 1A of Electoral Act 73 of 1998 says, “Candidates lists supplemented in terms of items 18 and 19 or reviewed in terms of item 21 must be published by the Secretary to Parliament and Secretaries to the Provincial Legislatures within 10 days after the receipt of such lists from the parties concerned”.
It is common cause that the name of Mr. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane appeaed or was published in the Government Gazette on the 2nd of September 2015 under No. 39193, titled “PUBLICATION OF REVIEWED LIST OF CANDIDATES”. The name of Mr. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane also did not appear on the Government Gazette No. 38831, which published the reviewed lists of all political parties in accordance with the Electoral Act.
What this means is that the name of Mr. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane was not submitted by the political party concerned within the 7 days as directed by Item 21 of Schedule 1A, of the Electoral Act 73 of 1998. Furthermore, the name of Mr. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane was not submitted within the dates communicated to all Chief Whips and Party Representatives by the Secretary to the National Assembly, who said on the letter dated 7th May 2015, that “the review of lists of candidates to fill vacancies in the National Assembly may therefore take place from Thursday, 14 May 2015, until Wednesday 20 May 2015”.
All political parties retain the right to submit names of their own chooisng as part of the candidates’ list review process which should happen within the designated 7 days of each year. The 7 days for 2015 have lapsed, and Mr. Zwane and any other member whose names do not appear on the reviewed lists may be included on the reviewed list when the opporunity arises in 2016.
We therefore write to you as the Speaker of the National Assembly to take note of the fact that the swearing in of Mr. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane as a Member of Parliament was not in accordance with the Law, in particular the Electoral Act 73 of 1998. We humbly request that as the Speaker of the National Assembly, you should promtply annul Mr. Zwane’s membership of the National Assembly because his inclusion is illegal, and patently do not have any legal basis.
The practice and norm of the National Assembly, which the EFF adhered to is that members who get sworn into the National Assembly should be on a list of candidates submitted to the Electoral Commission within the guidlenes contained in Schedule 1A of the Electoral Act. Parliament and Political parties do not have the powers to violate the Electoral Act, and include names of people on the lists in a haphazard fashion, because such will undermine the consistency of Parliament.
We hope that as the Speaker of the National Assembly, you will annul Mr. Zwane’s Membership of Parliament, or we will approach the Courts to enforce the Electoral Act in a manner that is generally acceptable. Please note that we will also write to the President to reverse the decision to appoint Mr. Zwane as a Minister because Section 91 of the Constitution says that all members of Cabinet, but maximum of 2, must be members of Parliament. We are aware that in the current Cabinet, there are already two Ministers who are not members of Parliament.
We hope that you will take this letter into consideration, as await a prompt response.
Floyd Shivambu, EFF Parliamentary Chief Whip
This letter has been sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly, and forwarded to the Secretary of Parliament, Mr. Gengezi Mgidlana, and Secretary to the National Assembly, Mr. Masibulelo Xasa, and we still have not received a response. The EFF will therefore write to the President to advise him to reverse the appointment of Zwane as a Minister as his membership of Parliament is illegal.
If Mr. Zuma fails to adhere to our requests, we will approach the Courts to enforce the Electoral Act 73 of 1998. The principle is that as the EFF, we will never allow Parliament and the Executive to violate the Constitution and various legislations guiding the country. We will fight with everything and everywhere to ensure that the ANC does not continue to suffocate and rape the Rule of Law and the Constitution in South Africa. We are the true defenders of the Rule of Law and the Constitution.
Issued by Mbuyiseni Quintin Ndlozi, EFF National Spokesperson, 7 October 2015