The EFF has threatened to take Parliament to court over the month-long suspension of their leader Julius Malema and five other MPs after they were sanctioned for disrupting the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in February.
Their suspensions will coincide with the delivery of next year’s Sona.
On Tuesday, the National Assembly adopted a report of the powers and privileges committee which recommended the MPs’ suspension without pay in February, and that they apologise to President Cyril Ramaphosa, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and South Africans.
Malema and his colleagues Floyd Shivambu, Marshall Dlamini, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Sinawo Thambo and Vuyani Pambo were found guilty of contempt of Parliament during this year’s Sona for disobeying Mapisa-Nqakula’s authority and disrupting the joint sitting.
After they were ordered to leave the House, the MPs climbed onto the stage with placards, prompting police to storm the stage where Ramaphosa was delivering his speech .
Their action led to the House being adjourned and resuming only after all the EFF MPs had walked out along with the DA, which protested against the police storming the House without Mapisa-Nqakula’s authorisation.
At the time, the EFF took issue with Ramaphosa for approaching the apex court to review and set aside the report of a three-member panel that found he has a case to answer over undeclared US dollars on his Phala Phala farm.
EFF MP Ntombovuyo Mente said they rejected the report, which was based on “baseless and irrational allegations”.
“We have approached the court for the matter to be heard on an urgent basis. The so-called contempt of Parliament was nothing but a peaceful protest,” Mente said. She accused the ANC of using its majority to protect Ramaphosa in the same way it did former president Jacob Zuma.
“We shall meet at court. The persecution of the EFF leader and members is as a result of shielding thieves not to be held accountable.
“Every Sona will be disrupted for as long as no one is held accountable, Phala Phala is not resolved and we have not found the sources of money found in Phala Phala,” Mente said.
DA MP Annelie Lotriet said rights came with responsibilities and that rights were not unfettered.
“Any member has a right to attend (Sona) and hold the president to account. (But) the disruption of Sona impedes and interferes with the rights of other members,” she said.
IFP MP Zandile Majozi said they could not afford for the House to be “trampled on”.
“We can’t be seen disrespecting the institution we want South Africans to hold in high regard ... We have got to a point where we need to make an example of those who choose to make a mockery of our political mandate to serve this country,” Majozi said.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said the sanction against Malema and the other EFF MPs was “too little, too late”.
ACDP chief whip Steve Swart said a strong message should be sent over the EFF’s storming of the stage and their conduct should not be tolerated.
GOOD MP Brett Herron said the EFF’s annual charade had passed its sell-by-date: “This conduct delays the start of Sona and lets unnecessary chaos.”
NFP MP Munzoor Shaik Emam said the sanctions would not solve the problem. “This is not a spaza shop.
There are rules in place,” he added. ANC MP Grace Tseke said the scenes the people were subjected to by the EFF did nothing to lift the dignity and decorum of Parliament.