Unprocedural legislature relocation of official opposition

Ross Purdon (MPL)

Caucus chairman

Dear Deputy Speaker


Please find attached for your perusal and record the following minutes and correspondence regarding the above matter.

  1. Minutes of internal arrangements meeting “IAC” of the 3rd of September 2014 and the 17th Sept 2014;
  2. DA caucus leader, Hon. A Trollip’s letter to the speaker regarding this “proposal” dated 1 Oct 2014;
  3. Letters from legislature officials informing the DA about which offices will be affected by the proposed move 6th October 2014; and
  4. My letter of response to these officials regarding their correspondence, dated 06 October 2014.

It is clear from your correspondence received today that you are either not aware of the above or that you have chosen to ignore the same.

Your correspondence refers to submissions from the IAC being approved by the executive committee; you also allude to briefings made to the internal arrangements committee and the multiparty whips forum.

This is all well and good save for the fact that there are no such recorded decisions made by either the affected parties or the relevant bodies.

South Africa is a constitutional state and is thus guided by the constitution, even this legislature is subjected to these provisions. Majoritarianism does not trump constituitionalism!

There has never ever been agreement in any internal arrangements committee or multi party whips forum about any proposal to move parties from their offices, not in this term, nor the previous term. There are no minuted decisions to this effect. What is more is that the majority party and its chief whip have no authority to make unilateral decisions in this regard.

Apart from the fact that the leader of the opposition’s letter remains unanswered, you are not entitled to unilaterally decide to move anyone out of their offices especially when members are away on recess.  Apart from your processes, to reach this so-called decision, being fatally flawed, you simply cannot give people no notice to move their offices. All the members have sensitive and confidential material and personal effect in their offices and no one is at liberty to invade their private space and possessions or to alienate their rights in this regard.

As we said in our latest correspondence, we will not hesitate to institute legal action and to hold you personally liable if you continue with this un-procedural and unlawful action.

It is clear that this initiative is politically motivated and the timing of this high handed action is equally not coincidental.  We note that this has been done whilst the leader of the opposition is “suspended”, our chief whip is away and the other members are on recess.

You made constant reference to the multi-party whips forum during the sitting of the legislature on the 2nd of October.  I wish to remind you that this body is a multi- party forum and not a rubber stamp to the wishes and whims of the majority party.

In this regard we also wish to note that you intend moving “all the opposition parties” yet the UDM is to remain where they are.

The DA wishes to place on record that we object to this action with the outrage and contempt that it deserves and we will not tolerate any decision about us without us.