We are right on Zuma #paybackthemoney – EFF

2014-09-01 19:58

The decision not to immediately proceed with plans to suspend EFF MPs vindicates the party, says its MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

"The EFF welcomes this as one of the first vindications of its position and protest in Parliament demanding that Jacob Zuma pays back the money unduly spent in Nkandla," he said today.

"EFF maintains that none of its MPs acted outside the rules of Parliament, and that it will proceed to robustly demand answers from the executive without any fear or favour."

Chairman of Parliament's powers and privileges committee, Lemias Mashile, said National Assembly Speaker Baleta Mbete and the Economic Freedom Fighters had agreed that Mbete would not proceed.

Mbete, who was widely expected to ask the National Assembly at its next sitting tomorrow to suspend the EFF members, has now deferred the matter to the committee.

In a letter to the committee, she asked that it report back to her with its recommendations urgently.

Last month, EFF MPs chanted "pay back the money" after party leader Julius Malema asked President Jacob Zuma when he would heed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendation that he repay state funds spent on his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal that did not pertain to security measures.

Mbete subsequently adjourned the sitting and threatened to have them physically removed from the House.

Last week, Malema said his party would pre-empt Mbete's move by asking the high court for an urgent interdict preventing the Speaker from expelling them.

In their responding letters to her, sent on Friday, the party said she had failed to name them when she asked members who were "not serious" to leave the chamber.

This did not apply to them, Malema argued, because they were indeed serious about holding the president to account for spending R246 million of public money on Nkandla.

The EFF had given Mbete until 2pm today to respond to their ultimatum to halt suspension proceedings against the party or face a legal challenge.

In a letter sent by the State attorney on behalf of Mbete to the EFF, it was confirmed that the powers and privileges committee would commence its probe into the allegations against the MPs.

"She is of the view that the committee should be given the space to proceed with the process in an expeditious manner," the letter read.

"The Speaker, therefore, in light of this, does not at this stage consider it necessary to invoke item 10 to the schedule of the National Assembly rules."

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