EFF demand apology, threaten legal action for being ejected from Sona

The Economic Freedom Fighters have launched a broadside against National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for booting out the red berets from the Cape Town City Hall chambers during the State of the Nation Address.

EFF leader Julius Malema is adamant that the presence of armed police and their response to the EFF’s attempt to stage a protest in the chambers undermined the rights of MPs adding that it was unconstitutional. 

Malema was speaking during a briefing held in Cape Town on Friday afternoon. 

He explained that National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s interpretation of Parliamentary rules was flawed and did not warrant the ejection of EFF members from the Parliamentary sitting. Now, Mapisa-Nqakula will be served with a legal document demanding that she apologise within 48 hours or risk the eventuality of being dragged to court. 

He also demanded that the Speaker and the Parliamentary Protection Services condemn and distance themselves from the unlawful eviction of MPs from the precinct without due procedure. 

“There is absolutely no permissibility in the Rules of Parliament or the Constitution to treat MPs as a group and evict them from the Assembly for exercising their democratic rights because a Presiding Officer has a preconceived decision and attitude about the members. All EFF Members of Parliament who spoke during State of the Nation and those who intended to speak were going to do so within the Joint Rules of Parliament and within the Laws of the Republic. 

“It is therefore unconstitutional, unlawful and unacceptable that the South African Police Service’s Counter Assault Team violently and physically invaded Parliament to remove peaceful Members of Parliament who were using their democratic right to protest,” he said. 

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Malema accused the Speaker of undermining the Western Cape high court judgement in the matter between the Democratic Alliance and the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and the Government. 

“The judgement states that only Parliamentary Protection Services would deal with conduct of members in the chamber and not Security Services as defined by Section 199 of the Constitution. We made these changes to the Rules because to allow defence forces, police services and any intelligence into Parliament Chambers will grossly render Section 58 of the Constitution null and void, and undermine Members of Parliament freedom of speech,” the leader of the EFF said.

The State of Nation Address started on a chaotic note when the red berets stormed the stage when President Cyril Ramaphosa started delivering his speech. They had to be removed by security personnel, which led to Mapisa-Nqakula suspending proceedings.

African Transformation Movement leader Vuyo Zungula was also asked to leave the chambers after he raised a point of order which led to him going back and forth with Mapisa-Nqakula. 

Shortly after the removal of EFF members, Parliament issued a statement condemning the actions of the EFF MPs. 

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The statement also gave clarity on the role of security services during Parliamentary proceedings. 

“The House had to be briefly suspended to remove the disruptive MPs, who refused to leave the House after being repeatedly ordered to do so following persistent abuse of the points of order. The MPs also jumped onto the stage where the President was seated, posing an immediate threat to his safety. 

“In terms of the Joint Rules of Parliament, the security services may intervene directly anywhere in the precincts in terms of section 4(2) of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act (Act No 4 of 2004, when there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or damage to any property. 

“In this regard, the security services do not have to await the invitation of the Presiding Officers to enter the Chamber when the life or safety of a Member is at stake,” the statement reads. DM

Author: editor

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