Court dismisses EFF bid to lift suspension of MPs

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The Western Cape High Court has dismissed an urgent application by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to freeze the suspension of six of its MPs including leader, Julius Malema.

The application would have paved the way for the six to attend the State of the Nation Address (SONA) next week.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Marshall Dlamini, Vuyani Pambo and Sinawo Thambo were suspended with Malema.

The six lawmakers were found guilty of contempt of Parliament following the storming of the stage at last year’s SONA.

They were slapped with a sanction of suspension without pay for February.

The recent ruling means they are set to miss out on SONA and the Budget Speech.

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says, “The EFF’s imposed and unrealistic time frames and filing on midnight before the next court day not only inconvenienced Parliament and the court, but it also indicated their lack of readiness for their application to be heard. The EFF’s application was dismissed with costs and the suspension of its members is effective from Thursday the 1st of February to the 29th of February 2024.”

EFF condemns judgment

On Monday, legal counsel for Parliament, Advocate Michael Bishop, told the court that the timing of the sanction was designed so that the members do not disrupt SONA and the institution wanted to take control of its proceedings.

Legal counsel for the EFF, Advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, responded by saying it was disappointing for Parliament as a law-making body to use such tactics.

Ngcukaitobi insisted there was a political motive underlying the legal defence.

The EFF says it condemns the judgment, alleging it suppresses accountability for President Cyril Ramaphosa.

EFF spokesperson Sinawo Thamo says, “The suspension of members of Parliament of the EFF is simply to ensure that he is not held accountable for his failings. It is his last State of the Nation Address, and they want him to have a peaceful one because they think that if they suspend the commander in chief, the president of the EFF, they are going to have a peaceful State of the Nation Address. It’s not going to be possible, members of parliament of the Economic Freedom Fighters are going to be part and parcel of SONA.”

The EFF says its members who are not suspended will continue to hold Ramaphosa accountable during the SONA.