EFF MPs to be investigated for disrupting parliamentary proceedings

Parliament’s powers and privileges committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into the conduct of Economic Freedom Fighters MPs for their hostile disruption of a legislature sitting involving Public Enterprises Minister, Pravin Gordhan. 

This is one of two complaints being investigated involving MPs of South Africa’s third-largest party.

The second matter relates to the disruption of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address in February. The EFF’s MPs refused to allow the event to continue until apartheid’s last president, FW De Klerk, left the public gallery.

Proceedings were delayed for almost one hour until the EFF left the National Assembly chamber when speaker Thandi Modise was on the brink of calling parliamentary protection services to remove the offending MPs.

The Gordhan matter relates to when some EFF members confronted him during a sitting of his department’s budget speech in July last year.


About 20 red overall-clad MPs rushed Gordhan while he was presenting his speech from a podium in the centre of a meeting chamber. 

MPs from the ANC, the African Christian Democratic Party and the Democratic Alliance formed a barrier between the EFF members and Gordhan, with the minister heard saying, “They must touch me”.

In delivering its legal opinion on the disruption of the State of the Nation address, parliamentary legal advisers agreed that legislators could investigate the EFF MPs for the disorders and had the jurisdiction to charge the MPs for breaking parliamentary rules. 

But the EFF contended it did not disrupt proceedings, and that they merely raised “points of order and left at the chamber on their own volition after a break in proceedings”.

In the Gordhan matter political parties agreed that an independent advocate from the Cape Bar be appointed to conduct an inquiry. 

The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told the powers and privileges committee that any attempt at collective punishment or rebuke the party would “fall apart in any court of law.”
He said that MPs have parliamentary privilege and are treated as individuals and not as a member of a political party. “There is this constant referral to a party. The courts have already pronounced themselves that you could not say EFF members or DA members. Particularly, if you are talking about the conduct of members, you have to say which member. And what has that member done?”

But powers and privileges committee chairperson Mohlopi Mapulane said the committee had  so far identified about 20 MPs who surged towards Gordhan.
“We viewed two videos. And what was clear on the second video is during the budget speech of Minister Gordhan, we identified members in our view who transgressed [parliamentary rules],” he said.

Responding, Ndlozi said any investigation would be a kangaroo court. “You’ve gone and watched videos of EFF members. You’ve already made up your mind. And there can’t be a fair process if that is like that,” he said. 

Parliamentary legal advisers told the committee it was too early to judge whether EFF MPs had broken the rules. The lawyers said that those who had been identified would have to be interviewed for their version of events.

Subscribe to the M&G

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.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

Related stories

South Africa must revisit and refresh its idea of itself

Covid has propelled citizens into feelings of a new shared identity in which the historical force of ‘whiteness’ is fading into irrelevance

Tax, wage bill, debt, pandemic: Mboweni’s tightrope budget policy statement

The finance minister has to close the jaws of the hippo and he’s likely to do this by tightening the country’s belt, again.

Does the Expropriation Bill muddy the land question even further?

Land ownership and its equitable distribution has floundered. Changes to a section of the constitution and the expropriation act are now before parliament, but do they offer any solution?

Johannesburg cannot police its future

South Africa’s biggest city is ground zero for debates about the long-term effectiveness and constitutionality of militarised urban policing and how we imagine the post-Covid city

EFF eyes municipalities ahead of 2021 local government elections

EFF leader Julius Malema says the party is preparing to govern in many municipalities from next year. It is also launching a programme to defend the rights of farm workers

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’
Advertising

Subscribers only

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

More top stories

Fifteen witnesses for vice-chancellor probe

Sefako Makgatho University vice-chancellor Professor Peter Mbati had interdicted parliament last month from continuing with the inquiry

Constitutional Court ruling on restructuring dispute is good for employers

A judgment from the apex court empowers employers to change their workers’ contracts — without consultation

Audi Q8: Perfectly cool

The Audi Q8 is designed to be the king in the elite SUV class. But is it a victim of its own success?

KZN officials cash in on ‘danger pay for Covid-19’

Leadership failures at Umdoni local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal have caused a ‘very unhappy’ ANC PEC to fire the mayor and chief whip
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday