EFF, FF Plus go head-to-head in Parliament

2014-06-25 20:51
(<a href= ‘https://twitter.com/RanjeniM’>Ranjeni Munusamy</a> via Twitter)

(Ranjeni Munusamy via Twitter)

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Parliament - Tension between EFF and FF Plus MPs at Parliament remained high on Wednesday, after a meeting of party chief whips failed to defuse the situation.

Freedom Front Plus Chief Whip Corné Mulder told Sapa the decorum of politicians within the precincts of Parliament - but outside the National Assembly - had featured on the agenda of the Chief Whips' Forum for the first time since 1994.

Its inclusion stems from a series of incidents involving Economic Freedom Fighter MPs and their FF Plus counterparts over the past week.

According to Die Burger newspaper, EFF members have sworn at and tried to intimidate FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder, following a dispute over noise in Parliament's Marks Building, where both parties have offices.

Another incident, involving threats and swearing, reportedly took place outside the National Assembly building.

Mulder said that at first the discussion at the chief whips' meeting on decorum within the parliamentary precinct had gone well.

"We had a good discussion in terms of basic good manners, dignity and how we should respect each other."

But this had ended on the late arrival of EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu, who had been delayed at another committee meeting.

"He had a completely different approach to the matter, saying nothing was out of order when it came to the behaviour of EFF MPs. He also said he was not prepared to apologise," Mulder said.

Referred to rules committee

The matter would now be referred to Parliament's rules committee.

"It will go there so we can get rules on this [the decorum and behaviour of MPS outside the House but within the precinct]. I don't know when that meeting will be," Mulder said.

Contacted for comment on what had happened over the past week, his brother, party leader Pieter Mulder said he thought EFF members were trying to provoke a racial incident.

"I get the impression... they're looking for a racial incident," he told Sapa by phone from North West, where he was set to attend a meeting.

In a posting on the FF Plus's Facebook site on Wednesday, Pieter Mulder said EFF leader Julius Malema and his party's MPs were intent on destroying the parliamentary system.

"They say they are not here to obey the rules, but for revolution," he wrote.

EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was not available for comment on Wednesday, and did not respond to messages sent to his mobile phone.

The EFF has 25 MPs in the National Assembly; the FF Plus has four.

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