Home South African ANC MP Mervyn Dirks drags party to court over suspension

ANC MP Mervyn Dirks drags party to court over suspension


He wants the court to declare his suspension unlawful, unconstitutional and null and void.

Suspended ANC MP Mervyn Dirks. File picture

SUSPENDED ANC MP Mervyn Dirks filed an urgent court application on Monday asking the court to declare the party’s letter placing him on precautionary suspension unlawful, unconstitutional and null and void.

Dirks also asked the Western Cape High Court to restrain the party from appointing another member to the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) and that the ANC reinstate him in his post as the whip of the committee.

The application came after the ANC chief whip in Parliament, Pemmy Majodina, failed to respond to a letter from Dirks’ lawyer, Godrich Gardee, demanding that the party restore his client’s responsibilities as the whip of the committee within 48 hours.

Part A of the application asked the court to interdict the organisation from appointing an alternative member to the ANC Scopa study group and as whip of the ANC parliamentary caucus.

“The applicant urgently seeks to interdict the first and second respondents from subverting the very foundations of our constitutional edifice. It is the applicant’s position that the patently harsh decision by the first respondent and second respondent is devoid of constitutional and rational bases,” read Dirks’s court application.

“The first respondent’s decision and attitude towards me is based on the second respondent’s factional politics, which should not be allowed to overshadow the constitutional functions and duties of the National Assembly.”

In the application, Dirks’ lawyers argued that should Majodina’s and the ANC’s decision to suspend him be allowed to prevail, Parliament’s robust oversight role would be greatly be imperilled as members of the ANC would be reticent to put the Constitution first for fear of political lynching.

“The momentous question is: how is it that an eminently constitutional request for the president of the Republic of South Africa to (a) appear before a committee which is mandated to consider the financial statements of all executive organs of state and (b) to account for utterances that have implications on the public purse, is met with disdain and the proverbial guillotine?” it read.

“The first respondent (Majodina) and second respondent (the ANC) should appear and show cause, if any, why an order should not be granted interdicting and restraining Majodina and the ANC from prohibiting Dirks from engaging on any media platforms in relation to Dirks’s purported suspension.”

Majodina had on Tuesday last week instructed Dirks to withdraw a letter to the chair of Scopa, Mkhuleko Hlengwa. However, Dirks refused to give in and demanded Majodina furnish him with reasons for the withdrawal.

He asked if his letter was in conflict with his oath of office and what informed the decision to instruct him not to play his oversight role.

Responding to Dirks’ argument, Majodina said Dirks’ conduct was unbecoming of a whip and stripped him of his position as a whip of the ANC in the Scopa study group and his membership of the strategy group in the ANC in Parliament.

Last week, Independent Media had revealed a recording of a strategic meeting of the ANC caucus where Parliament House chairperson of committees Cedric Frolick raised his concern about Dirks’ conduct.

Frolick had demanded to know what Dirks would do to get the ANC out of a situation in which President Cyril Ramaphosa had to be dragged to Scopa.

Approached for comment, Majodina’s acting caucus spokesperson, Nomfanelo Kota, said the party would not speak to the media about the internal matters of the party.

Previous articleUnfancied Gambia into Afcon quarter-finals in a ‘Barrow’
Next articleSA’s economy in a Catch-22 on social grants