Cwele, Mahlobo to testify in EFF hearing

2014-10-16 19:45

The ministers of telecommunications and state security will be added to the witness list in the disciplinary process of EFF leader Julius Malema and 19 of the party's MPs, Parliament's powers and privileges committee resolved.

The additional witnesses were agreed to after the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Democratic Alliance, the United Democratic Movement and the Inkatha Freedom Party objected to not being able to call witnesses.

"The debate was not about the right to call witnesses but about the impact on the integrity and fairness when members who are supposed to rule on the charges get involved in calling witnesses," said committee chairperson Lemias Mashile today.

"After much deliberation on the impact, relevance and gaps that needed to be filled in the evidence led, the committee agreed to call the following persons..."

The additional witnesses are Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Deputy ANC chief whip Doris Dlakude, DA deputy chief whip John Steenhuisen, National Assembly sergeant-at-arms Regina Mohlomi, and an ICT section manager.

"These witnesses are called to give evidence on certain instances where they played a role in engagements during the period just before the suspension of the sitting until the adjournment of the House," said Mashile.

"I hope that this further evidence will empower members to make informed determinations on the charges against the affected members."

Malema and his fellow MPs face contempt of Parliament charges.

On August 21, the charged MPs were seen chanting and singing in the National Assembly after Speaker Baleka Mbete suspended proceedings due to the EFF refusing to obey her instruction to "leave the House".

Mbete had tried to boot out the EFF MPs after they disrupted President Jacob Zuma's question time by chanting "pay back the money" at him.

They were referring to the R246 million in state funds spent on his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, a portion of which Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had recommended he repay.

The disciplinary process would continue in the absence of the 20 MPs.

The accused MPs withdrew from the process last week on Tuesday, following a statement by Malema.

In his statement, Malema attacked the legitimacy of the committee and asked instead that Mbete be charged for disrupting parliamentary proceedings.

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