EFF MPs face consequences for their actions in Parliament

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Parliament’s Powers and Privileges Committee looking into the discipline of three Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs has wrapped up its work.

This week, the committee dropped all charges against MP Veronica Mente. However, her two colleagues, Nazier Paulsen and Khanya Ceza will have to face the consequences, for their actions in the National Assembly, during a Question and Answer session by President Cyril Ramaphosa, in August last year.

The three MPs were charged with contempt of Parliament, as well as gross disorderly misconduct. This after their behaviour in the National Assembly, on the 30th of August last year, was called into question. They were accused of disrupting the NA on that day.

“They certainly took part in the…seriously detrimental to the dignity of the house,” says Initiator Adv. Tanya Golden.

The third accused, Veronica Mente asked to be shown evidence of her alleged poor behaviour.

“Where are those remarks, because you cannot fabricate evidence yourself? Where are the remarks that I said? If you can point me to the remarks that have led the speaker to take such a decision, I’ll be happy. Because I have no recollection of me offending anyone.”

The committee conceded and dropped all charges against Mente. Her two co-accused tried to defend themselves, but they were not as fortunate.

“There is no defiance that I intentionally, I’ve said that to you, no sane person can do that. Unless you are putting words in my mouth that are different from what you are saying. I was saying to you that I respected the speaker of the house and I even sat down at a point where there was engagement in terms of whether I should be warned or not. I don’t know if that constituted disrespect,” says EFF MP Khanye Ceza.

“What a lot of words to describe absolutely nothing. Really. Show me in the Hansard where the threats are. I want to hear these threats. There is no such thing. This is someone’s delusion. There really are no threats. Not in the Hansard. It’s a delusion. So whose delusion is it? Yours or the Speaker?” asks EFF MP Nazier Paulsen.

They were slapped with the following sanctions, an in-person apology to President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the people of South Africa.

This is to be done before the end of February. As well as suspension for a month, without pay, in March. The EFF legal counsel’s argument was based on concern about the possibility of bias, and the impartiality of the process.

The EFF took another view on the matter.

The apologies need to be made before the end of February next year. Once the committee adopts its report, it will go to the National Assembly for approval.

The committee also dealt with another matter involving six other EFF MPs, including its leaders, Julius Malema, and Floyd Shivambu. They have been suspended for February 2024 and will also not receive their salaries for that month.

All six MPs in this group were found guilty of contempt of Parliament for storming the stage during this year’s State of the Nation Address.