The EFF says it will hold President Cyril Ramaphosa accountable regardless of the outcome of a court application that could see party leaders, including EFF president Julius Malema, banned from attending Thursday’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).
Ramaphosa will deliver his Sona at the Cape Town City Hall.
A Western Cape High Court judgment last week against the party meant that the suspension of Malema, EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, secretary-general Marshall Dlamini, senior members Vuyani Pambo and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and party spokesperson Sinawo Tambo remained in place which prevents them from attending the sitting.
The six were suspended from Parliament after they rushed to the stage of the Cape Town City Hall during Ramaphosa’s address last year after the party had asked the president several times about the theft that took place at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo.
The party brought a court application to rescind the suspension but the Western Cape High Court struck the matter off the roll as the EFF had failed to file their affidavit and arguments in time.
Dlamini, speaking at Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium on Wednesday ahead of the party’s manifesto launch, said following the matter being struck off, the EFF had proceeded to bring it before the court again.
He said the matter was heard on Tuesday and judgment was expected on Thursday.
“The court said it will give us a judgment before 10 o’clock, so we will know tomorrow once the court gives us a ruling and then the EFF will give a sense of what is going to happen.”
Dlamini said if the court decides that Malema and other leaders remain banned and cannot attend the Sona, then they will find alternative ways to hold Ramaphosa accountable.
“We will do our best because we were voted by people to go to Parliament and we will make sure that we are there to represent the people of South Africa.
“We will wait for the decision of the court because we are law-abiding citizens of this country.”
The Western Cape High Court also dismissed the EFF’s urgent application to suspend new more stringent parliamentary rules that are to come into effect at the Sona on Thursday.
The rules now make it a violation to disrupt the president’s speech through points of order and outlaw “grossly disorderly conduct”.
Dlamini said these were “nonsensical rules” and that Parliament is the highest stage of politics and the contestation of ideas.
“It’s where we express our ideas so how do you go and tell people what you can or cannot say in Parliament when our Constitution allows us and gives us freedom of speech.”
He said freedom of speech was being curtailed in Parliament “in a place where those rules (on freedom of speech) are made”.
The EFF had argued that the rules affect their right to free speech and right to protest that are enshrined in the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa is expected to announce the election date within 15 days.
This is according to Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, who was briefing the media on Wednesday in Cape Town ahead of the Sona.
Magwenya said the election date was going to be announced soon.
“If you count from tomorrow, the president will announce the election date within 15 days,” said Magwenya.
He shot down suggestions there were delays in the announcement of the date.
“There is no delay because there was no particular time agreed he would make the announcement,” he said.
He said there was no crisis, and the election date will be announced.