Statement issued by President Bantu Holomisa, MP

Statement on the Supreme Court of Appeal Judgement delivered on the 8th of October 2015 on a matter between SABC, Minister of Communication, Chief Operations Officer of the SABC and the Democratic Alliance

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) welcomes the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on the 8th of October 2015. This judgement vindicates what we have always understood to be the powers of the Office of the Public Protector.

When everybody was shouting in Parliament about Nkandla, UDM soberly advised the President to take the report, findings and remedial actions of the Public Protector for judicial review. Yesterday’s SCA judgement has boxed the President into that corner in vindication of sober analysis and advice by the UDM.

The SCA said amongst others…”an affected person” or institution aggrieved by a Public Protector’s findings could, in “appropriate circumstances” challenge it by way of review application. It further said “moreover, an individual or body affected by any finding, decision or remedial action taken by the Public Protector is not entitled to embark on a parallel investigation process to that of the Public Protector, and adopt the position that the outcome of that parallel process trumps the findings, decision or remedial actions taken by the Public Protector…”

On the 20th of March 2015, I personally and as the Leader of the UDM in Parliament, penned a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, amongst others, highlighting to her the process that the NA was about to embark on, of referring the report of the Public Protector to the Minister of Police was flawed and that UDM shall not be part of undermining a Chapter Nine Institution and breaking the law. We were ignored.

On the 6th of August 2015, during the question and answer session to the President, I asked the President:

“Mr. President,
The Public Protector investigated your private property, made findings and took appropriate remedial actions against you Not the cabinet nor this parliament, don’t you consider to save this House and the nation, by simply applying for a Judicial Review given that you have challenged her findings and this House cannot act as an appeal authority on a matter that DOES NOT BELONG HERE”.

I see now other parties who were so keen in participating in a parallel process that seek to undermine a Chapter Nine Institution, have also came to this conclusion, and in the usual manner, act as if this has always been their stance. They can have their stolen thunder for the good of the nation.

In light of all this, the UDM supports the call to establish a review board to find ways to strengthen Chapter Nine Institutions, such as the Public Protector’s Office and others.

Clarification about legal powers of these institutions needs to be made if they are to play a complimentary oversight, assisting Parliament to do its work. Chapter Nine Institutions are there to help Parliament with oversight issues, and not merely act as watchdogs. Parliament needs to work in support of these institutions not to assist the axe against them.