Attempt to block sanctions against EFF MPs in Gordhan fracas struck off court roll

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  • The EFF's attempt to block Parliament from sanctioning its MPs involved in the 2019 fracas with minister Pravin Gordhan has been dealt a blow.
  • The Western Cape High Court has struck off its roll the EFF's urgent application seeking an interdict against Parliament.
  • The red berets stormed the podium while Gordhan delivered a speech in July 2019.

The Western Cape High Court has struck off its roll the EFF's urgent application seeking an interim interdict to suspend the implementation of sanctions against its MPs who tried to storm the podium while Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered a speech.

In December 2021, the National Assembly (NA) adopted the legislature's Powers and Privileges Committee report after an investigation lasting several months.

It recommended that EFF MPs Nthako Matiase and Nokulunga Sonti receive no remuneration for a period not exceeding 30 days, while 14 other EFF MPs received a fine not exceeding one month's salary and allowances.

READ | Parliament adopts report calling for sanctions against EFF MPs involved in Gordhan fracas

In July 2019, 20 EFF MPs stormed the podium while Gordhan delivered his budget speech.

According to a statement by Parliament's spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo, EFF MPs repeatedly raised points of order, which were ruled invalid by NA House chairperson Grace Boroto, who presided over the session.

The MPs persisted in raising the same points of order, then stood up, crossed the floor and proceeded towards Gordhan, Mothapo said.

As the confrontation got heated, Boroto asked the Parliamentary Protection Services to remove the EFF MPs.

Some of the charges against the EFF MPs were:

  • Physically intervening, preventing, obstructing or hindering the removal of members, including themselves, from the chamber when the presiding officer ordered their removal;
  • Undermining the authority of the presiding officer;
  • Refusing to obey rulings of the presiding officer; and
  • Interrupting the presiding officer while she was addressing the House.

"The application for the interim interdict was brought before the court pending the finalisation of the EFF's review application, which was launched in December 2020. The EFF is applying to have the committee report and the process leading up to its adoption declared unlawful, reviewed and set aside. The review has yet to be enrolled for a hearing," Mothapo said.

ANC and EFF MPs push and shove in the Old Assembly
In a separate incident, ANC and EFF MPs push and shove in the Old Assembly Chamber in Parliament. (Screengrab)

In March 2021, the EFF MPs were notified of the committee's guilty findings and were invited to make representations on both the findings and the sanctions.

"They chose not to accept this invitation," he added.

According to Mothapo, the High Court, in its judgement, said it found it difficult to understand why the EFF was seeking an interim interdict against the committee.

"The EFF launched the review application in December 2020 and has been able to approach the court for interdictory relief against the committee since 12 March 2021, when they were notified of the guilty findings and the intention to impose sanctions. The court also said that it could not understand the slow pace of the EFF's pursuit of the review application. As no evidence has been placed before the court as to when the review is likely to be heard, the implication is that the EFF is asking the court to interdict the committee indefinitely," Mothapo said.

READ HERE | Kenny Kunene 'not apologetic' after Julius Malema approaches Equality Court over cockroach comment

Mothapo said the court further emphasised that there was a duty on the party applying for interim interdictory relief to bring its application with conscientiousness and expedition.

"Had the EFF done so, the review application would most likely have already been decided. The court held that the EFF created its own urgency in the case, adopting a timetable to suit itself and failed to place all relevant facts before the court to support a case of true urgency. The court ordered the EFF to pay costs," he said.

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