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Mbete considers suspending EFF MPs

The National Asembly Speaker has asked the MPs to explain in writing why they shouldn't be suspended.

FILE: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has asked Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Members of Parliament (MPs) to explain in writing why they should not be suspended from Parliament.

Mbete said Parliament's powers and privileges committee will investigate Thursday's chaos when EFF members refused to leave the house.

The trouble started when the party's leader Julius Malema asked President Jacob Zuma when he would pay back the money spent on upgrading his Nkandla home.

Zuma replied that the Nkandla issue had already been dealt with which prompted an EFF sit-in.

Mbete had to adjourn the sitting of the House and at one point, it appeared as if riot police would forcibly remove EFF members from the house.

The multi-party committee will have to consider whether the conduct of the EFF members amounts to contempt of Parliament.

Mbete said she's also considering suspending the 25 EFF MPs.

"I'm considering the implementation of item 10 of the schedule of rules, which makes provision for the suspension of members where the allegations against them are serious."

Earlier government's Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster said while it recognises the independence of Parliament, it cannot simply stand idle as democracy is undermined.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula highlighted the chaos that erupted at Parliament last week as the first of its kind in more than 20 years of democracy.

She said in terms of the first line of defence, the police have a responsibility to ensure law and order as security in Parliament falls directly under their control.