DA`s Electoral Bill Court challenge ill-advised

4 September 2013

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip notes with astonishment the decision by the DA to approach the Western Cape High Court to challenge the provisions of the draft Bill which is currently undergoing processing by parliament`s home affairs portfolio committee. The Electoral Amendment Bill, which seeks to amend provisions dealing with voting rights for South Africans residing outside the country, is undergoing discussions in the parliamentary committee and it is scheduled for public hearings soon.

The DA`s baffling decision to approach the court on a draft Bill that parliament is still considering is premature, ill-advised and defies common sense. The decision is consistent with the DA`s tendency of using the courts to fight its political battles in Parliament. It is unfortunate that despite its repeated losses in courts, the opposition has still not learned a valuable lesson that, in terms of the doctrine of separation of powers, the judiciary cannot be drawn into or made to interfere in the internal processes of an independent arm of the state.

Recently, the DA spent millions on legal fees (and was also ordered to cover legal fees for Parliament after losing in two courts) on a case that sought to draw the judiciary into the internal affairs of parliament.

The decision to approach the courts on what is essentially a work in progress within parliament is tantamount to asking the court to write this Bill for Parliament. Inasmuch as Parliament may not write judgments for the judiciary, the judiciary too, should not be called in to write Bills for the legislature. This tendency should be rejected and frowned upon by those who value the laws of the land and our constitutional democracy. This Parliament, which serves as constitutional platform for democratic decision-making process, cannot be placed under the dictatorial powers of those with bottomless pockets to bankroll their frivolous litigations. We denounce such destructive opposition tactics deployed by the DA.

Issued by the Office of The ANC Chief Whip

Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930