PP: Parliament must investigate conduct of Motshekga & Co. - Floyd Shivambu

EFF Chief Whip says Thuli Madonsela was personally and unprofessionally attacked by members of justice committee, led by its chairperson

Text of the letter from EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu to Baleka Mbete, Speaker of the National Assembly, April 30 2015

Office of the Chief Whip

Parliamentary Caucus

30 April 2015

The Speaker

Ms. Baleka Mbete National Assembly Parliament of RSA Cape Town


Dear Speaker,


Please receive, record and advise on the course of action on the conduct of Members of Parliament, who serve in the Justice Portfolio Committee during the appearance of the Public Protector on the 29th of April 2015. As part of the parliamentary Budget votes, the Public Protector appeared before the Justice Portfolio Committee on Wednesday, the 29th of April 2009, and as part of the Constitutional and Legislative obligations that the office of the Public  Protector should report to Parliament and be financed through the appropriations process which funds government departments and other entities.

During her appearance, the Public Protector was subjected to personal, unprofessional and unparliamentary attacks by Members of the Justice Portfolio Committee, particularly its Chairperson Honourable Mathole Motshekga. The Public Protector recorded her concern that Members of the Justice Portfolio Committee were personally attacking her, and the Chairperson of the Committee did not do anything to protect her because he was at the forefront of the personal and unparliamentary attacks on the person of the Public Protector.

Part of the many unparliamentary attacks directed towards the Public Protector are the following:

a) Members of the Portfolio Committee accused her of working with an opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. The Chairperson of the Committee did not say anything to prevent such accusations from happening.

b) The Chairperson and Members coerced the Public Protector to apologise for previously making reflections on a High Court judgment without stating any rule which prevents the Public Protector from criticising judgments of High Court.

c) The Chairperson childishly prevented the Public Protector from conferring with the Deputy Public Protector, with an unjustifiable and unprecedented claim that she is not listening when members are speaking. There is no rule in Parliament that prevents those appearing before it to confer with each other during committee hearings.

d) The Chairperson rudely insisted that the Public Protector finished answering her questions even when she said she is still responding to questions members of Parliament asked, which is a Constitutional and Legislative obligation.

The conduct of most members of the Justice Portfolio Committee, particularly its Chairperson can never be classified as robust Parliamentary engagement, but fell into some sort of childish interrogation and undermining of the Office of the Public Protector. These incidences are a direct violation of Parliamentary Rules and Practices, and need to be acted upon because a perception will be created that as Parliament, we intolerantly, rudely and childishly relate to Institutions Supporting Democracy, mostly established by Chapter 9 of the Constitution.

Parliament should never be used by its Members to undermine Public institutions, in particular the ones whose Constitutional mandate is to fight corruption and enjoy legitimate support and confidence from majority of the people of South Africa.

We therefore write to you to request that Parliament investigates the conduct of Members of the Justice Portfolio Committee, in particular its Chairperson, with the view of determining whether his conduct falls within acceptable Parliamentary Rules and practices. There were attempts to call Members of the Committee and the Chairperson to order, yet the Chairperson of the Committee always made rulings that violated Parliamentary Rules.

As the authority that oversee the functionality and impartiality of Parliament as a Platform where all South Africans should freely express themselves without rude disruptions and interceptions, we believe it is now your duty to act on our complaint.

We hope that as the Speaker, you will attend to our complaint, as await a prompt response.

Kind regards,

Floyd Shivambu – Economic Freedom Fighters Chief Whip.

Issued by the EFF, April 30 2015