EFF to fight Malema's suspension from Parliament
The Economic Freedom Fighters is planning to launch an urgent court application to have leader Julius Malema’s five-day suspension from Parliament lifted.
Malema was physically removed and escorted out of Parliament on Wednesday after he refused to apologise and withdraw a statement made last month in the House calling Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa a murderer.
In a statement on Thursday, the party said they were launching a court application to get the suspension overturned as well as to “suspend enforcement of these criminal rules until the courts have pronounced themselves on their unlawfulness and unconstitutionality.”
Acting spokesperson and MP Fana Mokoena said the new rules of Parliament, which allow for the physical removal of MPs from the House if they refuse to leave on the order of the presiding officers, were a violation of the Constitution, which guaranteed MPs the freedom of speech.
“The EFF will not be intimidated by any threats of physical violence and illegal suspensions. We will continue to speak the truth without fear or favour. Cyril Ramaphosa is a murderer and he is a co-conspirator in the premeditated murder of the mineworkers of Marikana. The police must move swiftly with their investigation of the criminal case opened in Marikana against Ramaphosa and others. He must be arrested, prosecuted for mass premeditated murder and rot in jail.
“The EFF nor Julius Malema will not apologise to a person whose hands are dripping with the blood of the workers of Marikana.”
The EFF said the new rule was incorrectly applied as at no point did Malema disrupt the House when he refused to withdraw his comment, a view which was echoed by the Democratic Alliance.
The DA and EFF have been at odds in Parliament ever since the adoption of the new rules, after the Fighters lambasted the official opposition for voting it in.
But on Wednesday after Malema was removed, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said the rule, which was adopted in July in spite of the outcry from the EFF, was not applied fairly.
“Honourable Malema’s remarks and behaviour – although unparliamentary – did not constitute a life-endangering disruption in accordance with the Rules of the National Assembly and did not necessarily warrant the member’s forced removal from the House,” said Steenhuisen on Wednesday.
Refusing to withdraw the comments on Ramaphosa, Malema told Parliament on Wednesday that they could take him to jail instead. “Cyril has got blood of innocent people. I will never withdraw that and I will never apologise to Cyril [Ramaphosa]. Cyril must rot in jail, he is a murderer, he killed our people. And if you are going to use this Parliament to protect murderers, I am not going to agree to that.”
Malema’s removal was welcomed and celebrated by the ANC in Parliament.
The South African Communist Party have also welcomed Chairperson Grace Boroto’s ruling.
“Malema’s forked tongue and its malice can endanger the lives of other people if left unattended. The action by Parliament to eject and suspend him yesterday after his disruptive refusal to withdraw unparliamentary language and defamatory allegations against Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was the most appropriate under the circumstances – in defence of our democratic transition!” the SACP said in a statement.