Parliament to study SCA signal ruling

Photo: André Grobler

Parliament has noted the ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Thursday regarding signal jamming and broadcasting of footage in the National Assembly.

The SCA found that the Parliament’s policy on broadcasting was unconstitutional and unlawful in that they violated the right to an open Parliament. The court also declared that the use of a signal jamming device in Parliament during President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address in February 2015, without the permission of the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, was unlawful. The court also held that although the appellants, Primedia Broadcasting, Sanef, the Right2Know campaign and the Open Democracy Advice Centre, asked it to craft broadcasting provisions for Parliament it would be unlawful. A full bench of the court held in a unanimous judgment that this would be to intrude on the legislature’s domain.
The judges said it was Parliament’s prerogative and right to determine its own rules and policy, provided that the measures it adopts are reasonable limitations of the right to an open Parliament. The court found it was sufficient that the disruption provisions that were in place in February 2015 be declared unconstitutional and unlawful. Parliament said in a statement officials are studying the judgment. –

André Grobler – Bloemfontein Courant