Parliament accepts EFF court ruling

2014-12-23 15:17

Parliament said it would comply with the Western Cape High Court’s interim order lifting the sanctions against 20 suspended Economic Freedom Fighters MPs.

“Parliament notes the judgment... delivered today, which, as an interim measure, requires Parliament to pay, with immediate effect, the salaries and allowances to 20 EFF members,” it said.

Earlier, Judge Dennis Davis granted a temporary interdict preventing Parliament from continuing with the sanctions and suspensions.

Parliament said it was important to note that Davis had indicated in his judgment that another court needed to deliberate on the merits of the EFF’s application.

“Judge Davis categorically said that the judgment was not definitive and did not seek to undermine Parliament’s authority to conduct its own business, as an independent branch of the state, in terms of its own internal arrangements.

“He said that the judgment was not about determining whether the conduct of the 20 affected EFF members was deserving of sanction.”

The African National Congress at Parliament said the interim order “only serves to delay the implementation of the sanctions against the EFF MPs, not to scrap or declare them unlawful”.

It said that in presenting his judgment, Davis had been clear that the court’s decision related only to the interim edict, not to the merits of the case, the fairness or otherwise of the parliamentary disciplinary process or the penalties imposed.

“In this regard, we remain firm in our view that the disciplinary process was fair, just, open and transparent, and would stand any judicial scrutiny,” ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said.

Following the National Assembly’s adoption last month of a report by Parliament’s powers and privileges committee, six EFF MPs were suspended for 30 days without pay, six for 14 days without pay, and eight were ordered to apologise to the house and fined 14 days’ salary.

The matter originated with the “pay back the money” incident in the National Assembly on August 21 this year, when EFF MPs chanted and banged on their desks, disrupting President Jacob Zuma’s replies to questions.

In his judgment today, Davis emphasised that his judgment “cannot and does not provide a definitive finding regarding the applicants’ conduct” on that day.

However, he found that the suspensions had “failed to take account of democratic imperatives”, and had weakened the 20 MPs’ ability to serve the public who elected them.

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