EFF leader Julius Malema and five fellow party MPs on Monday walked out of a disciplinary hearing into their conduct when they disrupted the State of the Nation Address (Sona) by President Cyril Ramaphosa in February.
Malema said the hearing was a “kangaroo court” and that he would not be persecuted – in reference to initiator Anton Katz, SC – by a “white man”.
This took place after their legal team, led by advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC, failed to have the disciplinary hearing postponed to next year.
Malema is charged for contempt of Parliament along with EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu, Marshall Dlamini, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Vuyani Pambo and Sinawo Thambo for ascending to the stage with placards when Ramaphosa was delivering the Sona, and their actions prompted security officers to storm the joint sitting at the City Hall.
They were served with notices earlier this month for the hearing scheduled to run from Monday until Wednesday.
Ngcukaitobi urged the powers and privileges committee to appoint an independent chairperson to conduct a fact-finding inquiry and for the committee to make a final determination.
He also asked that the hearing be postponed to a date in January or February.
“The committee is bound by common law rule against bias. We don’t accuse the committee of bias,” he said.
“There should be no perception that you are biased against the EFF,” Ngcukaitobi said.
He said the committee was 61% ANC members and held enormous power over its political opponent, the EFF. Ngcukaitobi said the committee would fall foul of the common rule against bias if it continued to be constituted in the manner it was.
“We ask that the matter sits before a neutral and independent chairperson to determine whether or not the political opponents of the ANC are guilty of misconduct,” he said.
Ngcukaitobi also said there was a case in the Western Cape High Court to be heard on December 4 which challenged the validity of the parliamentary disciplinary proceedings brought by another group of EFF MPs.
“The charged members have applied to join in that application. One of the points to be argued is incorrect composition of the committee.”
Katz said until the parliamentary rules were declared invalid, the committee was entitled to sit in its current form.
“There is no challenge to the rules in this respect. The composition of the committee has been in place many years,” he said.
Katz also said the application for postponement was a Stalingrad tactic on steroids. He said the EFF legal team waited for nine days to bring a substantive application.
“This is abuse, a clear strategy to avoid take responsibility for alleged disruptive conduct of Sona. This conduct of delay is a classical Stalingrad by the six affected to ensure the hearing does not commence,” he added.
Committee chairperson Violet Siwela ruled against the postponement and said the hearing would be conducted in a reasonable and fair manner.
Malema then said they did not agree with the ruling and they would not be subjected to a “kangaroo court”.
“You bought this white man to come and persecute us. Every white man will go after the blood of EFF.
“You brought an apartheid apologist and beneficiary to come and persecute me. I am not going to allow that. No white man can persecute the EFF,” he said.
Malema claimed the outcome of the hearing had been pre-determined.
The hearing continues on Tuesday.