(Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 1, 2013) Opposition parliamentarians in St. Kitts-Nevis often urge that the Speaker of the St. Kitts-Nevis Parliament take note of the ways in which Motions of No Confidence have been handled by various nations, and be guided accordingly.
“What do others do?” the Opposition often asks. And South Africa has recently provided an answer.
St. Kitts-Nevis Opposition Parliamentarians in 2013 sought the intervention of the Court to force speedy consideration of a MONC filed by Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Opposition, the Honorable Mark Brantley.
Because the St. Kitts-Nevis Opposition places such weight on other countries’ handling of MONC’s, a recent court ruling in South Africa is worthy of note:
Opposition parties in South Africa, like opposition parties in St. Kitts-Nevis, had been seeking the Court’s intervention to force Parliamentary consideration of a MONC against that country’s President.
On August 27, that country’s Opposition failed in this attempt when South Africa’s Courts dismissed the Opposition’s case with costs.
Significantly, that country’s courts had earlier warned Opposition parliamentarians about attempting to “pull the Judiciary into every and all political disputes”.
In South Africa and other established democracies, reference is often made to “the separation of powers”. And this refers to an important Constitutional safeguards which ensure that the nation’s Legislature can no sooner instruct Judiciary on how to rule, than can the Judiciary instruct the Legislature on how to function.
This is key to ensuring an orderly, non-chaotic system of governance.
Opposition Parliamentarians in St. Kitts-Nevis, of course, withdrew their Court case once they realized that taking the MONC matter to Court actually prevented the matter being considered in Parliament, under the rules of the St. Kitts-Nevis Constitution.
Added to this, this recent ruling by the Courts in South Africa underscores the importance, in democratic systems of governance, of keeping the roles of a nation’s judiciary and those of its legislature separate and distinct.