Mervyn Dirks' lawyers push for court hearing ahead of scheduled appearance in parliament on Tuesday

25 January 2022 - 12:24
By Andisiwe Makinana
ANC MP Mervyn Dirks.
Image: People's Assembly ANC MP Mervyn Dirks.

The urgent court matter between ANC MP Mervyn Dirks and the party was postponed to 11.30am to allow the state attorney to take instructions from President Cyril Ramaphosa and National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

It will also be heard virtually as the respondents’ lawyers were not available to attend a physical sitting of the high court in Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

Judge Andre le Grange heard that a Johannesburg-based counsel for the ANC, who wasn’t present at court, asked for the matter to be heard virtually.

The ANC intends to oppose Dirks’ urgent application to be reinstated in his positions as a member of the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), strategy committee and as its questions whip in the National Assembly.

Representing Dirks, advocate Nikiwe Nyathi urged the court to hear the matter before the Scopa meeting scheduled for 4pm on Tuesday.

At that meeting, Dirks is expected to make his representations on the basis for his complaint, and for the committee to decide on the matter.

His lawyer Godrich Gardee, a former EFF MP, later told journalists it was important for Dirks to appear before Scopa in his capacity as a Scopa member so he can vote and influence whatever decision the committee takes.

“The urgency is that our client should be allowed to attend as a member of the committee and not like any other ordinary citizen. 

“If you appear as a member of the committee, you have a voting right and Scopa is a committee of 11 voting members, six ANC and five opposition parties. Our client holds the swinging vote,” said Gardee.

He said it defeated the purpose of the Zondo commission to attempt to scupper or sweep under the carpet Ramaphosa's statements in the leaked audio.

Dirks was suspended from his positions after he refused to withdraw a request to Scopa to summon Ramaphosa to answer allegations that state funds were used for party political activities.