EFF fuming over the High Court ruling that prevented suspended MPs from attending State of the nation Address

Wednesday, January 31, 2024
 – The EFF is fuming over the Western Cape High Court ruling preventing six senior members from attending next week's state of the nation address (Sona).

An EFF application that sought to rescind their suspension as part of disciplinary sanctions after the protest at last year's Sona was struck off the roll.

EFF spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said the ruling “underscores the suppressive nature of the executive's attempts to stifle accountability and silence those who hold [President] Cyril Ramaphosa accountable”.

“The partisan and draconian decision to suspend the president of the EFF Julius Malema, the deputy president Floyd Shivambu, secretary-general Marshall Dlamini and commissars Sinawo Tambo, Vuyani Pambo and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi for contempt of parliament is clearly politically motivated and aims to intimidate those who seek to hold the government accountable.”

Tambo insisted the protest was peaceful and stemmed from serious allegations against Ramaphosa regarding the theft of foreign currency at his Phala Phala game farm.

“The EFF was and remains concerned about the lack of adequate investigation and accountability regarding this discovery that was coupled with numerous illegal activities in attempts to recover what was stolen illicit currency.

“It was revealed that there had been clandestine investigations using state resources and the apparent co-ordinated cover-up by state institutions such as the South African Reserve Bank, South African Revenue Service and the public protector's office gave credence to the levels of criminality by the president.”

The EFF was being punished in the “climate of impunity” for emerging as a leading voice willing to speak out against corruption and demand transparency from the highest echelons of government.

“It is not surprising that [parliament's] powers and privileges committee, which is predominantly constituted by members of the ANC, proceeded with disciplinary proceedings against our members.”

Tambo said it was evident the timing of the suspension, to exclude their members from the Sona is nefarious and appears to be an attempt to ensure Ramaphosa can deliver his Sona without facing scrutiny from the EFF.

“The ANC-led government is resorting to vindictive measures to silence opposition voices and evade accountability for their failures. Despite these unjust actions, we assure the public that EFF MPs who attend the Sona will continue to hold Ramaphosa accountable for his failures.”

Parliament welcomed the court ruling, saying it endorsed the recommendation by the powers and privileges committee to suspend six of its members for defying the speaker's order to leave the chamber during the disruption and had to be removed by parliament's security services.

The EFF requested the court's leniency in accepting the late filing of their replies to the affidavit of the National Assembly and the heads of argument.

Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said parliament concurs with the majority judgment that the responsibility lies with the applicant, the EFF, to ensure they adhere to court rules and have a well-prepared case for hearing.

“The EFF's imposed unreasonable time frames and their filing on midnight before the next court day not only inconvenienced parliament and the court, but also indicated their lack of readiness for their application to be heard.”

The EFF's application was dismissed with costs.

The suspension of the six EFF MPs is effective from February 1 to 29.

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