Expelled EFF MPs lose court bid

2015-04-20 20:03
(<a href= ‘https://twitter.com/RanjeniM’>Ranjeni Munusamy</a> via Twitter)

(Ranjeni Munusamy via Twitter)

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Pretoria - EFF members are to be sworn in as Members of Parliament on Tuesday after four expelled MPs lost their application for an urgent interdict.

Judge Eben Jordaan on Monday ruled in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that an urgent application by Mpho Ramakatsa, Andile Mngxitama, Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala and Lucky Twala was not urgent and struck it off the court roll.

The four MPs earlier in the day thought they had won the battle when the judge granted them an urgent interdict in the absence of the EFF's legal representatives.

The EFF's advocate, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi ,earlier asked for the case to stand down so that he could get instructions from the party's leader Julius Malema.

When the EFF's legal team failed to return to court just before lunchtime, the judge granted an order allowing the four to retain their privileges as MPs pending an appeal against their suspension.

He also interdicting the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete from swearing in any other EFF members to replace them.

Jordaan rescinded the order after the EFF filed opposing papers and Ngcukaitobi argued that the MP's were not entitled to an interdict and was abusing the legal process.

Ngcukaitobi argued that the MPs had created their own urgency.

He said the saga had started in February when the applicants announced publicly that they would not attend the State of the Nation address and were suspended.

On April 11, a disciplinary committee expelled Ramakatsa, Mngxitama and Litchfield-Tshabalala and suspended Twala for three years unless he apologised, which he refused to do.

They were informed on April 14 that they were no longer members of Parliament.

Ngcukaitobi said since their suspension, there were at least 14 sittings in Parliament and they had only attended one.

"They have not set foot in Parliament despite the fact that they had the opportunity to do so.

"Only when the shoe really pinches and they are about to lose their salaries do they come to court," he said.

Nominated MPs

He argued that the applicants had released a statement the day after their expulsion, saying they did not recognise the EFF and its structures and it was unlikely that they would appeal through the same structures.

"The EFF nominates MPs. They knew they were likely to lose their position in Parliament if they lose their position in the EFF and they should have acted with haste.

"They have not demonstrated that they're entitled to remain in Parliament pending an appeal. They have not lodged an appeal either.

"...These seats do not belong to the applicants, these seats belong to the EFF. The EFF is entitled to replace them, especially where they reject the legitimacy of the EFF leadership," he argued.

Counsel for the applicants, Francois Botes, argued that they had a right to appeal and should not remain out in the cold, while the procedure to expel lacked legitimacy.

He said there was an application pending in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg about the legal standing and legitimacy of the EFF's disciplinary committee.

Jordaan said the applicants had ignored the EFF since time immemorial and had expected their expulsion for a long time.

"If you do not attend a disciplinary hearing, you know what the outcome is going to be.

"When they hear on April 11 they've been expelled and on April 14 that they're no longer members of Parliament they sit until Sunday to bring this application.

"... This application is not urgent at all and is a complete abuse of process," Jordaan said.

Read more on:    eff  |  cape town  |  politics  |  parliament 2015

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