Christelle du Toit
3 minute read
28 Nov 2020
11:19 am

PAC’s sole MP loses his seat in Parliament

Christelle du Toit

Speaker Thandi Modise noted statements shared by PAC members questioning her fairness and integrity. 

Mzwanele Nyhontso's membership of the National Assembly has been suspended. Pic: https://www.parliament.gov.za/

The Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Thandi Modise, has suspended the membership of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC)’s sole Member of Parliament (MP).

The PAC had one seat in the NA following the last national election, which had been filled by Mzwanele Nyhontso.

The party has, however, been embroiled in a legal battle over its leadership, leading to uncertainty over the standing of Nyhontso.

“Disputes of this nature have plagued the PAC, as noted in 2016 by the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria, in Pan Africanist Congress of Azania v Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa and Another (Pan Africanist Congress of Azania and Another Intervening), where Makgoka J held: “This application is one of the many that have occupied this court and our local division in Johannesburg. At the heart of the litigation is the power struggle that has engulfed the PAC over many years. None of those applications have succeeded in determining once and for all, who the legitimate leaders of the PAC are. The present application is no different,” noted Modise in a statement on Saturday.

ALSO READ: PAC gets court order to remove its sole MP from parliament

The Speaker explained that she received a letter from Phillip Dhlamini, representing the PAC, dated 2 November 2020, informing her of the removal of the latest matter from the SCA roll of 3 November 2020 by agreement.

“Attached to the correspondence were directions from the Court that urged the Parties to seek an agreement on the way forward and to settle their differences other than through the pending appeal process. The Court also advised that decisions made by the PAC leadership elected at the Congress on 24 August 2019 at Tompi Seleka in Limpopo Province and their consequences can only be set aside by a further application to court. Included in these decisions was the termination of Mr Nyhontso’s membership to the PAC,” explained Modise.

“Based on the legal advice received, the Speaker wrote to Mr Nyhontso to inform him that he has lost his membership of the NA, in terms of section 47(3)(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, with immediate effect.”

She added: “It is important to note that the loss of membership to the NA, in terms of this provision, is not a “decision” taken by the Speaker. It occurs by operation of law. The Speaker merely informs the member of his/her loss of membership to the NA once the final and certain loss of membership to the party is confirmed.”

Modise noted statements shared by PAC members questioning her fairness and integrity.

“The Speaker has a duty to act fairly and impartially to ensure that the rights of all parties, including minority parties, are protected,” she said.

“The Speaker trusts that the PAC will resolve its internal issues and provide certainty on who the candidate is that must be representing the party in the NA,” she concluded.

 

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