The EFF has questioned the timing of the Western Cape High Court ruling regarding the suspension of six members of Parliament, including its president, Julius Malema, deputy president Floyd Shivambu and secretary-general Marshall Dlamini.
This comes after the three and three other party MPs, Sinawo Thambo, Vuyani Pambo and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, were banned from attending the State of the Nation Address (Sona) next Thursday following the decision by the High Court refusing its urgent application to stay their suspension.
On Wednesday, the party issued a statement questioning the timing of this suspension, specifically choosing February 2024 to exclude their members from the upcoming Sona, saying this was “particularly nefarious” and appears to be a move and a calculated attempt to ensure that President Cyril Ramaphosa can deliver his final Sona without facing scrutiny from the EFF.
This week, the Western Cape High Court upheld the sanctions against the six EFF members after they were found guilty of contempt of Parliament.
“The EFF has noted the Western Cape High Court’s decision to strike off our application to suspend disciplinary actions against six members of Parliament, who peacefully protested at last year’s Sona.
“This ruling underscores the suppressive nature of the executive’s attempts to stifle accountability and silence those who hold Cyril Ramaphosa accountable,” the party said.
Last November, the six members were sanctioned by the powers and privileges committee which found them guilty of contravening the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act.
During last year’s Sona, the EFF members stormed the stage at the City Hall where Ramaphosa was to deliver the Sona, forcing the Speaker to suspend proceedings and call on the security services to evict them.
The party said its actions were a show of activism aimed at holding Ramaphosa accountable for the Phala Phala farm scandal and other acts of corruption.
“The initial peaceful protest at the Sona 2023, stemmed from the serious allegations against President Cyril Ramaphosa regarding the discovery of large sums of foreign cash concealed in his furniture, which eventually unfolded into what is now known as the Phala Phala farm scandal.”
This week, Parliament also confirmed that it has been served with court papers by the EFF, and indicated its stance to challenge the party’s application before the High Court.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said they wanted to send a strong message to other MPs who wanted to cause disruptions at Sona, adding that the recent amendments to the rules were aimed at dealing with similar disruptions.
“The statement that we are making is very clear. It is intended to protect Parliament from persistent disruptions and it is intended to ensure that the State of the Nation Address takes place in a climate of peace, respect and decorum of the House, but also respect for the people of South Africa who have a right because they have elected these parliamentarians, they have elected the president and they want to hold the president to account,” said Mothapo.