Parly accused of protecting President Ramaphosa from SONA accountability

Parly accused of protecting President Ramaphosa from SONA accountability. Picture: File

Parly accused of protecting President Ramaphosa from SONA accountability. Picture: File

Published Feb 7, 2024


With six members of the EFF banned from attending tomorrow’s highly anticipated State of the Nation Address (Sona), Parliament, through its new rules, has been accused of protecting President Cyril Ramaphosa from being held accountable.

EFF leader Julius Malema, while addressing students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Tuesday, slammed Ramaphosa, saying that in spite of sharp criticism and boycotts against him, former president Jacob Zuma never banned them from attending Sona.

This comes after six EFF members, including Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu, were banned from parliament for disrupting Ramaphosa during last year’s Sona.

“We fought with (Jacob) Zuma; Zuma has never banned us from going to parliament.

“Today, a man that they said is the most democratic man, a transparent man, a man who is not corrupt, has banned the EFF from participating in Sona because he is scared of the EFF,” said Malema.

The EFF’s ban has become legitimate due to Parliament having recently passed a new law that legally outlaws disruptions during joint sittings and Sona addresses.

This past week, the joint rules committee adopted amendments to prevent members of Parliament (MPs) from interrupting the president’s speeches.

In August 2022, three EFF members were ejected from Parliament after EFF members grilled Ramaphosa about his involvement in money laundering at his Phala Phala farm.

Last month, Parliament’s powers and privileges committee continued its disciplinary hearing into the three members, Ntombovuyo Mente, Nazier Paulsen and Khanya Ceza. They have pleaded not guilty to contempt of Parliament.

The suspension of Malema, Shivambu, Marshall Dlamini, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Vuyani Pambo and Sinawo Thambo comes into effect on Thursday.

Their one-month suspension from Parliament follows the findings of the Powers and Privileges Committee last year that six EFF members be barred from Parliament from February 1 until February 29.

Their fate was sealed after the Western Cape High Court last month struck off the roll, with costs, the party’s application to suspend disciplinary sanctions against Malema and five other EFF leaders following their acts of disruption at last year’s Sona.

They have also lost an urgent appeal against this judgement which makes it almost impossible for them to be in Parliament tomorrow.

On Tuesday, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula defended the new rules saying the joint rules will be implemented for the first time in the house during Sona to prevent the disruption of the president’s address.

“These measures are critical in ensuring that these important national events are conducted in an orderly and respectful manner, reflecting the dignity of Parliament and the importance of these addresses in setting the nation’s legislative and development agenda,” Mapisa-Nqakula said during Tuesday’s media briefing.

According to the new rules, no member of parliament is allowed to interrupt the president while delivering the Sona; interruptions are prohibited during the President’s speech at the opening of Parliament and no other business may be considered during a joint sitting other than the specific business for which the joint sitting is convened.

Political and social commentator Jamie Mighti, on his X platform, accused Parliament of doing Ramaphosa’s bidding.

“Parliament is doing too much to protect one man. The president. First it was blocking an impeachment hearing after the independent panel found a prima facie case existed.

“Second was the appointment of a public protector who wrote a cover up report while deputy. Third, changing parliament rules to prevent disruption of the presidents Jamie Mighti speech with points of order,“ he said.

The Western Cape High Court has dismissed the EFF urgent application after it argued that the new rules affect their right to freedom of speech and right to protest enshrined in the Constitution.

But Judge Deidre Kusevitsky indicated in her judgement that the EFF failed to satisfy the requirements for the relief sought.

The Star

[email protected]