EFF calls Gordhan 'constitutional delinquent', stages walk out during SONA debate

EFF members leave the chamber while Minister of State Enterprises Pravin Gordhan addressed the House. (Jan Gerber, News24)
EFF members leave the chamber while Minister of State Enterprises Pravin Gordhan addressed the House. (Jan Gerber, News24)

The EFF continued its feud with Minister of State Enterprises Pravin Gordhan during the debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Tuesday. 

As Gordhan took his stand behind the National Assembly Chamber's podium, EFF leader Julius Malema got to his feet.

"I don't think it would be advisable for Mr Gordhan to address us," Malema said.

Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said it is not a point of order, but Malema was undeterred.

He referred to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's recent finding against Gordhan, and said that means Gordhan is, therefore, a "constitutional delinquent". 

He warned Tsenoli that he is making the "same mistake you did with the previous president" and said the Constitutional Court found that Parliament did not fulfil its obligations in dealing with the Public Protector's finding. 

"You cannot show a middle finger to a Chapter Nine institution!" Malema charged.

Tsenoli didn't budge. Malema said they would wait outside while Gordhan spoke. And out marched the EFF. 

Gordhan continued with his speech in his usual calm, measured way. 

He said the uncertainty facing employees of Denel, was the effect of state capture. 

When Gordhan was done, the EFF came back in.

Gordhan is seen as a key figure in rooting out corruption in state owned enterprises. 

Last month, Mkhwebane released a report, saying Gordhan should not have approved the early retirement with full pension benefits of Ivan Pillay in 2010 and his re-employment on a fixed term contract.

Gordhan, who was finance minister at the time has previously said that Pillay's retirement was "entirely above board".

In her remedial finding, Mkhwebane said President Cyril Ramaphosa must take appropriate disciplinary action against Gordhan for violating the Constitution.

Gordhan has taken the findings on review. 

Towards the end of last year, as their own financials came under scrutiny, the EFF launched several attacks on Gordhan.

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