Just like with Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma is still dodging important questions of the FF Plus about legal advice that the president had received about the constitutionality of the E-Toll Act before he signed it, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on transport says.
According to Adv. Alberts he has since last year been trying without any success to obtain an answer about the issue from the president. He directed a parliamentary question to the president about this issue but even on this the president has been evasive.
The question was whether the president had gained any legal advice about the constitutionality about the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Act, 3 of 2013, and if so, why he hadn’t done so; why he did not take it into account, how many legal opinions he had obtained about the issue and what the recommendations were in each legal opinion.
Adv. Alberts also enquired as to whether the public could obtain a copy of the legal opinions and if not, why not.
The reply merely reads: “The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, as South Africa is a constitutional democracy. It therefore goes without saying that in my exercise of my constitutional responsibility to assent to and sign Bills or refer Bills to parliament, I consider the Constitution at all material times.”
Adv. Alberts says the reply is unsatisfactory and is indicative of a habit of the president to evade sensitive questions or merely to respond evasively.
“What we are seeing here is exactly what is happening with regards to the Nkandla scandal. Satisfactory and direct responses to questions regarding sensitive issues are just not forthcoming from the president. The FF Plus had already last year pointed out in letters it had sent to the president that the E-toll Act was not constitutional because it had been wrongly classified.
“This legal opinion had enjoyed wide support and the FF Plus’ information is that the president’s own legal advisors had agreed with it.
“Various letters and follow-up letters to gain answers were just not heeded. Now the president doesn’t want to give straight answers. The FF Plus will again be asking the president questions and we will be expecting full answers,” Adv. Alberts says.
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