Opposition, ANC gang up against EFF over Parliament disruptions

2015-06-24 10:20
EFF MP's shout "pay back the money" in the National Assembly. Picture: Lerato Maduna

EFF MP's shout "pay back the money" in the National Assembly. Picture: Lerato Maduna

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Opposition parties and the ANC have, in an apparent united front, drawn a line in the sand on the EFF’s behaviour in Parliament – but amid yet another disruption. 

Parliament’s rules sub-committee was considering amendments to existing rules on how to handle disruptions during sittings of the National Assembly, including last Thursday during President Jacob Zuma’s appearance in the house. 

One of the proposals, which will be submitted to the rules committee this morning, provided for the removal and immediate temporary suspension of a member of Parliament for disruptive behaviour. 

But at the same time, a sitting of the house that was under way in the National Assembly, was almost plunged into chaos by EFF MPs, who raised a series of points of order. 

Floyd Shivambu, the EFF’s chief whip, stormed into the committee room and demanded that the rules meeting be adjourned so that the EFF could attend the meeting. The other MPs remained adamant that it should continue. 

Shivambu stormed out, threatening to disrupt the session in the National Assembly. 

DA MP Natasha Mazzone said: “It is grandstanding on the most revolting scale.” 

Dr Corné Mulder, Freedom Front Plus chief whip in the committee, suggested further that an unruly MP who was asked to leave the house for unruly behaviour should be suspended without pay. The DA and ANC seconded the proposal. 

“We have reached the point where enough is enough.” 

Richard Mdakane, committee chairperson, also took a swipe at the EFF. 

“Parliament cannot be held hostage by a dictatorship of 6% [referring to the EFF membership].” 

When EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi eventually joined the meeting after leaving the sitting in the National Assembly, he objected to the proposal to remove and suspend MPs for misconduct. 

“We are not employees of Parliament; we are public representatives and cannot arbitrarily just be suspended. Proper processes must be followed,” Ndlozi said. 

Another proposed amendment to the rules is the establishment of a parliamentary guard who would be empowered to remove MPs who resisted removal. It was stressed that a “minimum force” should be used.

Specific details of what constitutes minimum force are still to be determined. 

Mazzone also complained about the presence of the South African Police Force in the house during previous disturbances. 

“We don’t want a North Korean type of militia. South Africa is not a police state.” 

The proposed amendments will be discussed at this morning’s rules committee meeting.

Read more on:    eff  |  parliament

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