NATIONAL Assembly Speaker, Professor Peter Katjavivi has requested that the High Court take a step back to allow for internal parliamentary processes to unfold, after he temporarily banned leaders Bernadus Swartboi and Henny Seibeb from the Landless People’s Movement, pending the outcome of the Privileges Committee.
The matter that was heard on an urgent basis by Judge Kobus Miller has been postponed until the 6th of May. The judge will then hand down his ruling.
According to Katjavivi, an outcome by the Privileges Committee is yet to be determined, to establish whether or not Swartbooi and Seibeb’s conduct in Parliament during the State of the Nation address on 15 April 20201 was justifiable.
Meanwhile, Katjavivi has temporarily barred the two leaders from sessions of the National Assembly. Swartbooi and Seibeb have since approached the high court with an urgent application, to challenge Katjavivi’s decision.
Katjavivi also added that nothing prohibits Swartbooi and Seibeb from making representations at the Rules Committee to set aside his decision. The expelled LPM leaders claim that the Speaker applied the wrong rule when he barred them from sittings.
“On 15 April 2021, the applicants, both members of parliament in a joint sitting of parliament were under obligation to respect the orders made by the Speaker. They were under constitutional obligation to maintain the dignity and image of the National Assembly. In respect of rule 118, they were under direct obligation to accord respect to the President of the nation as a guest of the national assembly. In fact, the applicants’ acts are not covered by parliamentary immunity,” Katjavivi argued.
Swartbooi and Seibeb are seeking an order from the High Court directing that Katjavivi personally pays their legal costs.
They are also demanding that the court interdicts and restrains Katjavivi from interfering with their rights as elected members of the National Assembly to attend sessions.