Speaker’s dual role ‘means she cannot remain impartial’

Parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete cannot fulfil her obligation to remain fair and impartial because her position as ANC national chairperson creates an irreconcilable conflict of interest.

That is according to the Council for the Advancement for the South African Constitution [Casac], which last week applied to be allowed amicus curae (friend of the court) in the motion brought before the Constitutional Court.

The motion, in essence, is to force a secret vote in parliament to decide the upcoming motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

The matter is set down to be heard today. Casac argues, in its heads of arguments, that Mbete’s duties as speaker do not preclude her from being a member of a political party, but even so affiliated she is required to perform the functions of that office fairly and impartially in the interests of the National Assembly and parliament.

As ANC national chairperson she cannot do that.

The organisation wishes to join the application brought by the UDM, which is supported by other opposition parties, and further argues that an MP’s obligation to the Constitution of South Africa comes before party mandates.

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