James Masango MPL
Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
ANC Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) displayed their ignorance of our constitutional democracy and the separation of powers when they refused to adopt a DA motion resolving to adhere to court orders against government departments, during the Legislature sitting in Vukuzakhe near Volksrust.
The motion stems from an incident last week where Mr Koos Kruger, the former headmaster of Hoërskool Ermelo, obtained an attachment order against the Department of Education, after it failed to pay a R650 000 labour dispute settlement order after 17 months.
It is highly concerning that ANC MPLs, who are supposed custodians of democracy and our Constitution, treat the separation of powers between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary with such derision. This check and balance system is specifically in place to prevent the abuse of power and the arrogance it breeds – such as what we saw in the Legislature.
The fact is that neither the Department of Education, nor any other government department has the right to defy a court order for any reason whatsoever, and barring an appeal, have to comply – whether it suits them or not.
Furthermore, the department’s refusal to pay the settlement and the consequences of the attachment order will now further harm learners’ prospects in Mpumalanga, as unnecessary costs have now been incurred to fund ANC arrogance.
Justice in South Africa equally applies to ordinary citizens as well as government departments and institutions, and each must honour the independence of the judiciary, irrespective of who we are.