EFF to boycott SONA after High Court upholds suspension

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will boycott Thursday evening’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) after the Western Cape High Court upheld the suspension of six MPs.

Party leader Julius Malema, and five other party MPs who won’t be allowed to attend this year’s event.

COURTESY: X - @EFFSouthAfrica

In November, Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee ordered six EFF MPs, including party leader Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu, to apologise to President Cyril Ramaphosa for disrupting his SONA in February 2023. They were also ordered to apologise to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the parliament and the public. They are also serving a month-long suspension

The Court characterised the EFF’s application as “an abuse of process” and described their conduct as “irresponsible”, considering that they were the cause that the matter had to be considered on an urgent basis. Parliament agrees with the court that the argument claiming the suspensions infringed upon the constitutional rights of the EFF to participate in the State of the Nation Address was without merit, as the remaining EFF MPs could still adequately represent them.

The Court further expressed its frustration that the EFF had, after their initial application failed, “repackaged” the same case with “cosmetic surgery” and requested a different relief, in effect to suspend the sanctions against its members. This caused the court to order punitive costs against the EFF.

In a statement on Thursday, the party said partial participation in the SONA programme would imply that some members agree with parliament’s decision.

The EFF said it will now focus its attention on the launch of the party's election manifesto which will take place at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.

“It is evident, and certainly beyond a reasonable doubt, that the courts continue to be part of the Ramaphosa defence mob, whose primary and sole aim is to protect the racist white capitalist establishment. Courts in South Africa have been reduced to being part of the Ramaphosa defence mob because he is a representative and puppet of the white capitalist establishment,” the EFF said.

“All EFF public representatives will dedicate their maximum attention and focus on the launch of the EFF manifesto, taking place at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, 10th February 2024. We know that our maximum focus on the manifesto launch and election work will rescue South Africa from the undemocratic and unconstitutional rulings of Parliament and the courts.”

Parliament welcomed the High Court’s decision

‘’We concur with the Court that when dealing with such matters, it will trench on the separation of powers and the duty which the Court has to pay due and proper respect to Parliament’s competence to regulate its processes and affairs, including the disciplining of its members,’’ said Moloto Mathapo, Parliament spokesperson.

‘’It has always been Parliament’s aim to protect the institution from persistent and continuous disruptions. The State of the Nation Address must take place in a peaceful environment and with respect for the decorum of the House and the people of South Africa,’’ he added.

 Done By: Mitchum George


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