Modise not at­tend­ing meet­ing she asked for

CityPress - - News - JANET HEARD news@city­press.co.za – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Andisiwe Mak­i­nana

An in­vi­ta­tion was ex­tended to Par­lia­ment to at­tend this month’s meet­ing be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive and the ju­di­ciary, but the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers are strangely un­avail­able.

This was re­vealed by pres­i­dency spokesper­son Bongani Ma­jola af­ter queries about whether a date had been set for a meet­ing be­tween the three arms of state – as re­quested by Na­tional Coun­cil of Prov­inces chair­per­son Thandi Modise more than two months ago.

Ma­jola said the pres­i­dency un­der­stood that both Modise and Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Baleka Mbete would not be avail­able for the meet­ing, sched­uled to be hosted by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in Pre­to­ria on Au­gust 27, “due to prior par­lia­men­tary com­mit­ments”.

“The meet­ing be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive and ju­di­ciary will thus go ahead as an­nounced to the na­tion,” said Ma­jola, who added that Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng had in­vited the par­lia­men­tary lead­ers.

“I am sure that a suit­able date will be sought for all three arms of the state to meet as soon as pos­si­ble to dis­cuss is­sues that con­cern all three,” he said in a writ­ten re­ply to ques­tions.

Modise said in an in­ter­view with City Press in June that she had ap­pealed to Pres­i­dent Zuma to con­vene a meet­ing of the three arms of state to iron out cer­tain is­sues. She ex­pressed frus­tra­tion about “in­ter­fer­ence” from the ju­di­ciary, but also said that Par­lia­ment felt un­der­mined by the ex­ec­u­tive, was ham­pered by a short­age of fund­ing and re­sources, and needed to im­prove co­or­di­na­tion with the ex­ec­u­tive.

She said the leg­is­la­ture should not feel like a “Cin­derella” be­tween the two other arms of state. “Par­lia­ment has not been told it is the ju­nior of the three part­ners,” she said.

This week, Modise’s spokesper­son, Tsepiso Shuenyane, said Par­lia­ment was “work­ing on ar­rang­ing the meet­ing”.

Asked to com­ment on the Au­gust 27 in­vite, she said she could do so by to­mor­row.

More light may be shed on Modise’s com­ments dur­ing a de­bate next month on the con­sti­tu­tional man­date of Par­lia­ment, the deco­rum of the in­sti­tu­tion and the func­tions of pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers. DA leader in the na­tional coun­cil of prov­inces Elza van Lin­gen tabled a mo­tion call­ing for the de­bate in the wake of Modise’s state­ments.

The Au­gust 27 meet­ing was also re­quested by Mo­go­eng fol­low­ing at­tacks on the ju­di­ciary by se­nior politi­cians within the tri­par­tite al­liance and specif­i­cally Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko, who said: “Some el­e­ments of the ju­di­ciary meet with char­ac­ters to pro­duce cer­tain judg­ments.”

He said the heads of court and se­nior judges of all di­vi­sions had re­quested that he meet the head of state “to point out and dis­cuss the dan­gers of the re­peated and un­founded crit­i­cism of the ju­di­ciary”.

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