LETTER: Precautionary suspensions could improve ANC’s image

by | Jun 6, 2019 | General | 0 comments

It would be the fairest way of dealing with errant MPs on the list compiled by the integrity committee

03 June 2019 – 05:00 – BusinessDay

The infamous 23 people on the ANC’s parliamentary list who were red-flagged by the party’s integrity committee are all ANC deployees. It is therefore appropriate to regard them as employees doing a job or work for the ANC. The party list system ensures that they serve at the pleasure of their party and will not be allowed in law to do so if their party membership is terminated. 

In labour law there is a well-established practice called “precautionary suspension”. It is a device available, even without a hearing, that enables the employer (the ANC) to suspend employees (parliamentarians) who are reasonably suspected of wrongdoing to enable them to face criminal trial, disciplinary procedures or other court proceedings or even just be given the space in which they would be able to definitively clear their names and dissolve the cloud of suspicion under which they find themselves.

A good few precautionary suspensions of ANC MPs in respect of whom the whiff of wrongdoing persists, despite the past investigations of the integrity committee, could serve to improve the image of the ANC and reinforce the probity and integrity of the body of its members who serve in parliament or in the cabinet.

Think of precautionary suspension with full benefits as a useful way to restore the rule of law in parliament and the cabinet. It would get the sixth parliament off on the right footing, and it would be the fairest way of dealing with those on the list compiled by the committee. Accountability and responsiveness would be promoted.

Paul Hoffman, SC

Director, Accountability Now

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