Law enforcers not at beck and call
14:09 (GMT+2), Thu, 06 October 2011
Source: Candice Ludick (Knysna-Plett Herald)
The High Court hearing regarding Bitou Speaker Johann Brummer’s interdict against ANC councillors, also sought that the Bitou head of Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE) be directed to assist him or any other elected chairperson of the council to “enforce rule 24(2) of the Rules of Order by removing any member of the Council of the Municipality of Bitou from a meeting if requested to do so by the applicant or such chairperson”.
Brummer argued that by virtue of the employment relationship which apparently exists between the municipality and its Law Enforcement Unit, the MLE has no discretion to decide whether a direction from the speaker is lawful or not.
The Bitou head of MLE contended that it would have been illegal for the unit to have removed, on Brummer’s instruction, a member who was legally entitled to participate in a meeting of council and that the relief sought by Brummer would essentially violate the MLE’s legal duty “to conduct law enforcement without fear, favour or prejudice to any person or political party”.
Western Cape High Court judge, Judith Innes Cloete said that the MLE is duty-bound to properly exercise its discretion before simply carrying out any instruction given by the Speaker.
She explained that a situation in which Brummer believed that he was entitled to act in an autocratic manner and that it is he who is entitled to decide whether an instruction is lawful, would simply undermine the very constitutional imperatives to which the MLE is obliged to adhere.
“Brummer simply does not have such a right,” said Cloete.
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