The African National Congress notes the application brought before the Constitutional Court today in relation to the nature and extent of powers held by the Chapter 9 institutions. Should direct access to Constitutional Court be granted, the ANC would welcome the application as we believe the questions it raises are critical for the promotion and upholding of our institutions supporting constitutional democracy as envisaged by the Constitution.
The Chapter 9 institutions, which include amongst them the Public Protector, the Auditor General and the South African Human Rights Commission amongst others, have as the core of their founding principles strong impartiality, independence and accountability to Parliament and the public at large. For an example, the Constitution bestows upon the Public Protector the powers to investigate and report on any alleged improper conduct in the state and to take remedial action. Such was done by the Public Protector in relation to her report on the security upgrades at President Zuma`s homestead. In fulfilment of the Public Protector`s recommendations, the President then directed the Executive to confirm the modalities of complying with the recommendation contained in her report.
It is unfortunate the matter relating to the President has been negatively politicized by the EFF and DA. Notwithstanding the distortions that have been created in the public domain, the ANC is of the view that at no point has the President defied the recommendations made by the Public Protector nor indicated unwillingness to comply with her report. What is at issue is the Public Protector`s contention that compliance with recommendations must be on her terms and not as directed by the Parliament or Executive which are the organs with the power to implement the “appropriate remedial action” she has recommended. It would be interesting therefore to see whether the Constitutional Court will appropriate upon the Office of the Public Protector powers that the Office currently does not have. It would also be interesting to note what the implications of such action would be on the continued functioning of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers.
The ANC takes great pride in South Africa`s maturing democracy and has full confidence in our judicial system to provide answers to the vexing questions of our time. The Chapter 9 institutions play a vital role in supporting our constitutional democracy and all South Africans remain duty bound to respect and promote their Constitutional mandate as does the ANC.
ISSUED BY ANC