'Mr Malema, you're making my work difficult'

2014-10-20 19:28

National Assembly sergeant-at-arms Regina Mohlomi pleaded with Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and his fellow MPs to leave the House on August 21, MPs heard today.

Testifying before Parliament's powers and privileges committee, Mohlomi gave her account of what happened after National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete instructed her to remove "members of this House who are not serious".

"I spoke to Mr Malema in Sepedi and told him that the presiding officer has spoken. Mr Malema responded by... [saying], 'We are not going anywhere'," said Mohlomi said.

"I then started almost pleading, I think. I said: 'Mr Malema, please it's very difficult for me to do this part of my work ... please don't make it even more difficult for me'."

After Malema and his fellow MPs refused to leave, Mohlomi briefly left the chamber to speak to the head of the Parliamentary Protection Service.

"When I got outside, some of her staff were outside. I looked and did not see her. I was quite anxious not to be outside the chamber for too long. I went back almost immediately," testified Mohlomi.

She said she did not know who called the uniformed police officers she saw in the chamber after Mbete suspended proceedings.

When questioned about how she knew who to remove from the House, as the Speaker had not named members, Mohlomi said she was "clear on who the Speaker wanted to be removed..."

"My instruction was to take members that were disrupting, as I understood, proceedings of the House," she said.

"What I saw and heard was that members of the EFF were standing up, they were shouting. Some of them were banging on the tables, on their benches even though the Speaker said you [EFF MPs] are not recognised."

Mohlomi denied her actions had ulterior motives.

"I'm convinced that what I attempted to do on that day was simply to carry out an instruction by the... Speaker of the House. I don't know of anything untoward."

Four other witnesses are expected to give evidence on certain instances where they played a role in engagements during the period just before the suspension of the sitting until the adjournment of the House.

They include Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, African National Congress deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude, and Democratic Alliance deputy chief whip John Steenhuisen.

Malema and his colleagues face charges of disrupting and displaying contempt for the National Assembly after shouting "pay back the money" at President Jacob Zuma.

This was after Malema questioned the president about Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's directive to reimburse the state for luxuries added during upgrades to his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

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