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EFF MPs suspended from Parly

Cape Town-160504-Scenes from the National Assembly during the Presidential Budget Vote. The EFF objected to the president taking the podium, and were forcibly evicted after refusing to do so when ordered to by the Speaker. After this the President presented his Budget. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town-160504-Scenes from the National Assembly during the Presidential Budget Vote. The EFF objected to the president taking the podium, and were forcibly evicted after refusing to do so when ordered to by the Speaker. After this the President presented his Budget. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams

Published May 5, 2016

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Parliament - Economic Freedom Fighters MPs have been suspended from Parliament for five working days after they were forcibly removed from the National Assembly during the Presidency budget debate on Wednesday.

The MPs could also face disciplinary action by the institution.

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EFF MPs brought Parliament to a halt on Wednesday when they tried to force Zuma to stop tabling his budget vote.

Each department, led by its political head, tables its budget vote in the National Assembly after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has presented his budget to the House.

 Zuma had hardly taken to the podium when the EFF objected to his speech because of recent judgments by the Constitutional Court and the North Gauteng High Court.

EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu proposed a motion for Zuma to be removed, saying an “illegitimate person” should not be allowed to address the National Assembly.

“Parliament is the institution that must hold Jacob Zuma accountable and he has been found to have acted outside the law, and Parliament is not doing anything about it,” Shivambu said.

“We will never allow to be addressed by a criminal, we will never allow to give money, a budget to a criminal who is just going to abuse that money for his own self-enrichment and the promotion of his family… Jacob Zuma will never find peace in the presence of the EFF,” Shivambu added.

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This ultimately led to a repeat of the ugly scenes of last year’s State of the Nation address as EFF MPs were dragged from the House by plainclothes members of Parliament’s protection services after they refused to leave on the instruction of Speaker Baleka Mbete.

Mbete said in a letter to the EFF that their members, who were present during the sitting on Wednesday, were suspended for five Parliamentary working days.

After sending hooligans to assaulting us Mbete has written this letter to us: Suspending us for 5 Working Days pic.twitter.com/tQOKjvoel3

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— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) May 4, 2016

This means EFF MPs are not allowed to come close to Parliament for the next five working days.

They are also barred from attending Zuma’s reply to the debate late on Thursday.

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Parliamentary papers on Thursday showed that the 15 EFF MPs have been referred to the Rules Committee for possible disciplinary action.

It is not clear how soon the EFF MPs would be subjected to the disciplinary process.

However, the Rules Committee could consider the matter as early next week as Zuma is due to return to the Chamber on May 17 for oral questions.

Meanwhile, the EFF has said that the party will pursue criminal charges against those who removed them from Parliament.

Dali Mpofu tweeted on Thursday morning: “If those parliamentary bouncers were there to protect our Constitution they would have been called in to remove criminals: Zuma & Ramaphosa.”

IOL and Political Bureau

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