Matter of Privilege - Report by Portfolio Committee on Youth Indigenisation etc - 2014-09-02

Extract from National Assembly Debates (uncorrected) for 2nd September 2014

MOTION

MATTER OF BREACH OF PRIVILEGE: HON. THEMBA MLISWA

MR. WADYAJENA: The Report of the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment is concerned with the statements allegedly made by Hon. Themba Mliswa to the Herald on the 3rd of April 2014. Noting that Hon. Mliswa has not rebutted or challenged the authenticity of the statement, the Committee therefore concludes that the press report accurately captured what is attributed to him. The alleged statements are as follows:-

“Billy (Rautenbach) has also got into Parliament and already has corrupted some Members of Parliament. You were there when that whole Committee was held of indigenisation, there were Members of Parliament who were paid to heckle the Chairman, even asked the Chairman to stand up, and can’t you see that? But some of us are not moved by that. There were no noises because Members of Parliament had been paid to say what they needed to say. There are Members of Parliament who are in Billy’s constituency who had approached me that can we mediate between me and Billy and I said no”

Effects of the alleged statements

Members of the Committee take exception to the allegations as they feel they have the potential to create deep suspicion amongst the members thus dividing the Committee. This has the potential to undermine the integrity and image of the Committee and Parliament itself. This may also compromise the ability of the Committee to execute its mandate and functions. Therefore, it is necessary for Hon. Mliswa to substantiate his allegations by way of furnishing Parliament with evidence which informed his alleged statements to the Press.

It is the contention of the Committee that if Hon. Mliswa is able to substantiate his allegations, this will point to a possible breach ofprivilege by some members of the Committee. However, if Hon. Mliswa is unable to substantiate his allegations, there could be a prima facie breach of privilege on his part.

The Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act Chapter 2:08 create among others, the following offences in the Schedule of Offences;

1. Offering to or accepting by a member or officer of Parliament of a bribe to influence him or her in his or her conduct as a member or officer.

2. Offering to a member a fee, compensation, gift or reward for or in respect of promotion of or opposition to any Bill, petition, resolution, motion or other matter or thing submitted for the consideration of Parliament or a Committee.

3. Publishing a defamatory statement reflecting on the proceedings or character of Parliament or a Committee.

The Committee therefore, prays for the Hon. Speaker to make a ruling on the matter.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair will consider the issue raised by the Committee in question and will make a ruling in due course.

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