Former Political Prisoner Sworn In as NCOP Member

EFF’s Kenneth Motsamai was sworn in as MP on Wednesday by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. However there was a hair-raising moment when Mogoeng mentioned section 106 of the constitution.

Section 106 of the Constitution forbits those who have been convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than a year in prison without the option of a fine from becoming MPs.

Motsamai served 27 years and 11 months in jail for the killing of a white traffic officer in 1989. The officer was killed in a bank robbery authorized by the PAC. The proceeds from the robbery were to assist the PAC in its activities. He was 26 years old when he was arrested and had just returned from Ethiopia after military training.

Mogoeng began by saying: “One member who has to be sworn in or have an affirmation administered to was convicted and is on parole. I know that it has been a subject matter of debate elsewhere. I know it’s a matter that was debated or discussed in the province from which he comes.”

“The starting point says ‘anyone who after this section took effect’. On the information at my disposal, the particular delegate was convicted in 1989 and the constitution took effect in 1996. So this section 106 (1)(e) seems not to exclude that delegate.

“There must be good reason why our constitution drafters decided to make this provision applicable only after the adoption of constitution. It is for that reason that I will be administering the oath or affirmation to that member, because my own understanding of the constitution is that ‘after’ means after,” Mogoeng added.

The former military commander was sworn in as a member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).