EFF rejects court ruling that its members can’t attend SONA

EFF rejects court ruling that its members can’t attend SONA. Photographer: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

EFF rejects court ruling that its members can’t attend SONA. Photographer: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 8, 2024


The EFF rejected yesterday’s Western Cape High Court ruling which dismissed its urgent court application to force Parliament to allow six EFF MPs including its leader Julius Malema to attend last night’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

On Thursday, the Western Cape High Court dismissed, with costs, the EFF’s urgent application for an interim interdict to prevent Parliament from implementing chapters 1 to 2B of the Joint Rules of Parliament.

Following the court’s judgment, dismissing two urgent applications by the EFF this week, the party said it will continue to find ways to hold President Cyril Ramaphosa to account.

Last month, Parliament sanctioned Malema, Floyd Shivambu, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Marshall Dlamini and two other MPs from attending SONA after they disrupted Ramaphosa’s speech last year.

The recently implemented rules, which the party has been fighting through the courts, prohibit disruptions in Parliament and rule that no member may interrupt the president when he delivers the State of the Nation Address, and orders for the removal of MPs from the chamber.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo welcomed the judgment, saying the court held that the EFF failed to provide any evidence to substantiate its claim that the amended rules were only adopted as a means to “target” the party, as all other political parties would be subjected to the rules.

The EFF vehemently rejected the dismissal of their application.

“It is evident, and certainly beyond reasonable doubt, that the courts continue to be part of Ramaphosa’s defence mob, whose primary and sole aim, is to protect the racist white capitalist establishment. Courts in South Africa have been reduced to being part of the Ramaphosa defence mob because he is a puppet and representative of the white capitalist establishment,” the party said.

The party said in spite of its reservation about the country’s justice system, it will appeal the matter in due time.

In its judgment, the court said it saw no correlation between the adoption of the amended rules and a perceived ulterior political motive, as the EFF argued.

Responding to the ruling, former Public Protector and EFF member, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane slammed Parliament and the courts for protecting Ramaphosa and for allowing such “draconian laws” to be passed in the National Assembly.

“The Speaker of National Assembly and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces violated the Section 55(2)(b) of the Constitution which unequivocally mandates members of Parliament to fulfil their oversight role, which is fundamental to the functioning of a democratic government. It is imperative that our democracy thrives on transparency, accountability, and the effective exercise of checks and balances.

“The courts are also in cahoots with them, how do you allow such draconian rules to be enforced?“ Mkhwebane said.

In defence of the ruling, Mothapo said Parliament has argued that the State of the Nation Address is ceremonial and not a debate, nor is it an engagement.

“Therefore, the EFF cannot claim that their freedom of speech is stifled by the adoption of the Joint Rules. The court emphasised the importance of respecting the doctrine of the separation of powers for all arms of state. It further added that there existed no exceptional circumstances for it to breach the separation of powers doctrine and reaffirmed Parliament’s right to regulate its own procedures and processes,” he said.

The Star

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