Parliament postpones ‘pay back the money’ hearing

2014-09-16 16:26

Parliament has postponed the first meeting of its investigation into the protest the Economic Freedom Fighters staged in the legislature to demand that President Jacob Zuma repay state funds spent on his Nkandla home.

The meeting of the powers and privileges committee, which has been set up to mull sanctions including suspension against 20 EFF MPs, will now meet on September 30.

Parliament’s media office said it was delayed to give the independent initiator advocate Randall van Voore, presenting the charges against the opposition MPs, time to finalise the notices to be served on them.

“The notices are expected to be finalised by September 18 and a meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 30. This will be the first day of the inquiry into the matter referred to the committee by the speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete.”

On August 21, Mbete adjourned the assembly after EFF leader Julius Malema asked Zuma when he would heed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation that he reimburse the state for luxuries added to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, and his colleagues began chanting “pay back the money”.

Mbete agreed to shelve plans to suspend the party’s members in parallel to the committee’s inquiry after Malema threatened to challenge her in the high court.

The cancellation of today’s meeting comes amid a running disagreement between Parliament and the parliamentary press gallery over whether the media should be allowed to attend the committee’s sittings.

The meeting was scheduled to take place in camera, as was the first meeting of the committee on the charges against the EFF MPs earlier this month.

The media was finally allowed to be present at that meeting.

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