EFF MPs guilty on all charges

2014-11-05 15:24
EFF leader Julius Malema makes his representation to Parliament's powers and privileges committee in Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

EFF leader Julius Malema makes his representation to Parliament's powers and privileges committee in Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

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Cape Town - Parliament's powers and privileges committee has found 20 Economic Freedom Fighters MPs guilty of all charges stemming from their heckling of President Jacob Zuma over his Nkandla home.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu and his colleague Mpho Ramakatsa were found guilty on seven charges each, and EFF leader Julius Malema and the party's spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on four charges each.

The rest of the group, who chanted "pay back the money" at Zuma in the National Assembly on 21 August, were found guilty on between one and six charges, committee chair Lemias Mashile told journalists at Parliament on Wednesday.

"It has been a lengthy discussion on Monday that took us into the night. Eventually the committee reached a conclusion that the charges that the 20 members of the National Assembly are facing have been proved and these charges stick to them and they are found guilty on those charges," Mashile told reporters.

These charges range from refusing to obey an order by the Speaker to sit down or leave the chamber, to creating a disturbance in Parliament and interfering with the functions of the legislature.

Mashile said the EFF MPs would be given an opportunity on Friday to plead in mitigation of sentencing.

However, Malema made it plain that his party refused to take any part in the disciplinary process in any way in a submission read to the committee on 7 October.

He threatened that the party would challenge in court any punishment imposed by the committee.

On Wednesday, the EFF MPs' leadership could not immediately be reached for comment. They were in a sitting of the National Assembly where they and the Democratic Alliance clamoured for Zuma to appear in the chamber, from which he has been absent to answer questions since the heckling incident.

Mashile said the committee reached the finding of guilty through "sufficient consensus", but conceded it was not a unanimous decision. Opposition parties are on record as saying they did not agree.

He defended the committee's decision not to call Speaker Baleka Mbete to testify, saying members believed it would be improper for her to give evidence as she had referred the matter to the committee.

Opposition party members on the committee had asked that she be called.

Mashile declined to set out the punishment that could be imposed on the EFF MPs, but according to the parliamentary rules it could include suspension from the legislature for 14 working days.

Read more on:    eff  |  baleka mbete  |  julius malema  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  parliament 2014  |  nkandla upgrade

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