The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), through its lawyers, have written to the speaker of Parliament for a second time requesting that a joint standing committee on intelligence be established.
In the letter, penned by the party’s lawyers, the EFF claims that should Parliament fail to do so by September 27, they “will have no alternative but to approach the High Court of South Africa for a relevant order compelling Parliament to constitute same and seek punitive costs against the Speaker.”
The party said that this was in light of “developments in the country involving our intelligence divisions and services”, including the xenophobic attacks, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployment to the Cape Flats, as well as the Public Protector’s South African Revenue Service report.
The EFF further cited constitutional obligations placed on Parliament to hold the executive accountable.
“Section 55(2) of the Constitution clearly states that, ‘in exercising its legislative power, the National Assembly must provide for mechanisms a) to ensure that all the executive organs of state in the national sphere of government are accountable to it, and b) to maintain oversight of any organ of the state.”
They add, “The establishment of a Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Intellience [JSCI] is one such important mechanism to hold the state and its intelligence divisions accountable.
“Any delay in constituting the JSCI is therefore a direct violation of the Constitution.”
The party also noted that it had previously written to the speaker on September 4 but while it received an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter it had not received any response.
The Secretary to the National Assembly Masibulele Xaso said that the matter of constituting the JSCI is receiving urgent attention from the speaker and chairperson.
“As you may be aware, in terms of the applicable legislation the appointment process creates a role for the presiding officers of Parliament, the Presidency and leaders of political parties. The necessary consultations are underway and Parliament is confident that the matter will be finalised soon,” he told News24.