Extradition of the Guptas is still up in the air
elections in the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.
“While there are some advantages of such a system, there are also some weaknesses, such as lack of accountability of members of the relevant legislatures to their voters, the alienation of voters from the political system, and no provision is made for the voting public to vote for individual members,” Lekota said.
He charged that this state of affairs was allowed despite the Constitution providing that “every adult citizen has a right to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office”.
The draft bill, published on December 7, said that the Electoral Act should be amended to give effect to the Constitution.
It called on the Electoral Commission Act to accommodate independent candidates and regulate related matters.
Yesterday, Bloem said the passing of the bill into law depended on Parliament’s workload.
“The lifespan of Parliament will be shortened because of the elections. Parliament opens next month… it really depends on the workload,” he said when asked about the prospects of the bill being passed.
“But we as Cope want to see it (independents contesting elections) happen in the coming elections. We don’t want any delays,” Bloem added.
He took a swipe at Speaker Baleka Mbete for what he termed delaying the introduction of the bill to Parliament for consideration.
“The Speaker of Parliament must be blamed for this delay. It was tabled long ago but she used delaying tactics not to introduce it. We are very concerned,” Bloem said. “It is urgent that the bill be enacted into law before the elections.”
Mbete’s spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, said he would have to look at the genesis of the bill, but he said the process followed in the formulation of laws included public participation and processes involving the NCOP and the National Assembly.
However, Mothapo said Cope needed to answer why they thought a bill brought to Parliament for introduction late last year should take precedence over the business of Parliament and be rushed. LAW enforcement agencies have not yet extradited the Guptas to South Africa despite Parliament approving the Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United Arab Emirates.
But the Hawks said yesterday the extradition would not happen until the investigations had been completed.
The National Assembly approved the Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the UAE late last year after all parties unanimously backed the treaty.
The National Prosecuting Authority could not be reached for comment yesterday.
But the Hawks said the investigations into the cases against the family had not been completed.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said they did not have a time frame as to when the extradition process would begin, but the head of the unit, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, has said he wanted all the investigations to be completed.
Mulaudzi said that when the cases were brought to court they must have all the elements of prosecution as they did not want to prosecute on a piecemeal basis.
The rule of speciality, which is applied in terms of international law, did not allow the extradition of a person for investigation purposes, Mulaudzi said.
“The rule of speciality, in terms of international law, says you cannot extradite any person to investigate.
“You extradite to prosecute,” said Mulaudzi.
This would mean that for people to be extradited the State must have all the evidence for prosecution. It cannot do piecemeal prosecutions.
MPs late last year also asked Lebeya about the progress made in bringing the Guptas back to South Africa for prosecution.
Lebeya said there was progress in the matter, but he did not give a time frame as to when these would be finalised to haul the Guptas back to the country.
Law enforcement agencies have been under pressure for several months to extradite the Guptas after it emerged they had left the country for Dubai early last year.
The family members have been accused of state capture, but they have denied the allegations.
President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Shamila Batohi as the new head of the NPA after a panel recommended her.
This followed the decision of the Constitutional Court to appoint the new head of prosecution after a court challenge to the appointment of Shaun Abrahams.
He was accused of being slow in dealing with cases of state capture.
Batohi will officially begin her job next month, while the Constitutional Court has decried the instability in the NPA for years.
No single NPA boss has managed to finish their full term.
MPs have been urging the NPA to act swiftly and to begin the process of extraditing the Guptas.
THE head of the Hawks, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya.