EFF ‘kangaroo court’ may draw back the curtain on democracy

Parliament’s disciplinary hearing into whether the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) members of Parliament undermined the legislature in August may be open to the media and the public.

Parliament announced on Sunday that the powers and privileges committee will commence on Tuesday October 7, with the disciplinary proceedings against the 20 EFF MPs who have been charged of the disruption of a sitting of the National Assembly during a question and answer session with President Jacob Zuma on August 21.

The committee said that although the rules of the National Assembly require the committee to conduct its work behind closed doors, there is a sub-rule that makes provision for the committee to open the proceedings should all parties agree to it.

Committee chairperson Lemias Mashile said the decision on whether to open the inquiry to the public would be taken when the committee meets on Tuesday.

“The sub-rule will be interrogated at the meeting tomorrow [Tuesday]. If the members want it to be open or don’t have a problem with it being open … the committee will consider that when it meets,” said Mashile.

No objection to meeting media
The EFF has indicated that it will not object to the opening of the meeting to the media. “The media must be there. Why not?” said the EFF’s national spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Ndlozi said EFF MPs would attend the inquiry, but declined to say whether they would challenge the charges.

The high court in Cape Town rejected an urgent application by the party, which sought to stop Parliament from holding an inquiry into its MPs’ behaviour.

The EFF charged that the process to be conducted by Parliament’s powers and privileges committee, which deals with MPs’ disciplinary matters, would be unfair and labelled it a “kangaroo court”.

The party wanted the court to interdict “the intention of the ANC to exclude the EFF from Parliament”.

“It can never be correct that a political party, which was elected by more than one million people should be subjected to a quasi-disciplinary process that is dominated and controlled by the political enemy, the ruling party,” said the EFF’s party whip, Floyd Shivambu, at the time. He said that the ANC “is the judge, the complainant and witness in this same matter”.

Unhappy with Zuma’s reponse
The inquiry is set to begin on Tuesday and scheduled to sit for five days to determine whether the behaviour of 20 EFF MPs who chanted “pay back the money” to Zuma during question time in the National Assembly on August 21 constituted contempt of Parliament in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.

The MPs in question had been unhappy with Zuma’s reply to a question about when he was going to “pay back” part of the money spent on the R246-million security upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal. Their conduct prompted National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete to instruct them to leave the house because they were “not serious” about proceedings.

The EFF MPs each face a range of different charges, but the charge common to all of them is that of refusing to leave the National Assembly chamber when ordered to do so by Mbete.

Mashile said some MPs face extra charges for disturbing the proceedings and for defying the speaker by refusing to take their seat when instructed to do so.

The cross examination of Mthethwa will continue on Tuesday.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday