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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


ANC MP Mervyn Dirks loses bid to overturn suspension

Dirks' urgent application was struck off the roll with costs on Tuesday.


ANC MP Mervyn Dirks has failed to overturn his suspension from Parliament after the Western Cape High Court struck his application off the roll.

Dirks‘ application was heard in court by Judge Andre Le Grange on Tuesday.

Le Grange ruled that Dirks did not prove that his application was urgent and dismissed it with costs.

The MP had sought an interdict to prevent ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina from appointing another person to replace him.

He also wanted to be reinstated with immediate effect as ANC whip of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).

His legal team – consisting of former Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) secretary-general Godrich Gardee and advocate Nikiwe Nyathi – argued that Majodina acted “outside her scope” in suspending Dirks.

Suspension

Last Thursday, Majodina placed Dirks on precautionary suspension for his “unbecoming” conduct, and initiated disciplinary proceedings against him.

The MP was also stripped of his parliamentary duties as the whip of Scopa after having ignored Majodina’s instruction to withdraw his request.

He had written to Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa requesting that Ramaphosa be summoned to the committee to answer to allegations of mismanagement of public funds.

ALSO READ: ANC MP’s Ramaphosa request could pit factions against each other at NEC meeting – analyst

Dirks stated in his papers that the withdrawal of his suspension was unlawful and unconstitutional.

He pointed out that he was merely performing his oversight role as a member of Parliament by holding the executive to account.

In his letter to Majodina, Dirks said she should indicate in writing if his letter to Scopa “is in breach of any parliamentary rules and procedures or in conflict with the constitution”.

Scopa mandate

Dirks is expected to appear before Scopa to make his representations on Tuesday afternoon.

Hlengwa said last Friday the committee will proceed with Dirks’ complaint as it had already started an internal process because the matter was “serious”.

READ MORE: Dilemma for ANC Scopa members over Mervyn Dirks saga

According to City Press, Scopa has the mandate to probe Ramaphosa’s statements “if, indeed, public funds of any government department or public entity had been utilised for unauthorised purposes”.

The committee, however, cannot “deal with any alleged ethical breaches of the president” because only Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane can determine whether Ramaphosa broke the law.

Furthermore, it is not within Scopa’s mandate, chief parliamentary legal adviser Advocate Zuraya Adhikarie stated, to consider Ramaphosa’s conduct or whether he had failed to share information with the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, as alleged.

‘Fall on the sword’

On Twitter, Dirks said there was “a concerted effort here to stop someone from appearing before Scopa”.

His complaint relates an audio recording, where Ramaphosa is heard saying that he knew of party members who used public funds for their political campaigns ahead of the ANC’s 2017 Nasrec elective conference.

READ MORE: ANC MP’s Ramaphosa request could pit factions against each other at NEC meeting – analyst

In the leaked audio that was recorded during an NEC meeting, Ramaphosa conceded that he is “willing to fall on the sword” to protect the ANC rather than reveal the party members’ names because he is concerned about the image of the party.

ANC’s head of the Presidency, Sibongile Besani, confirmed that the leaked recording was authentic, but dismissed suggestions that Ramaphosa was attempting to shield party members by covering up information on corruption.