EFF: We're ready for any outcome
The EFF have given Baleka Mbete until today to rescind her suspension threat or face court action.
CAPE TOWN - While a court battle looms between Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) and National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete, the committee that is to investigate their conduct will sit for the first time this afternoon.
Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee investigates allegations of misconduct and contempt of Parliament against members.
Mbete wants to suspend Malema and 24 EFF MPs while the probe is underway.
But the EFF leader has threatened to go to court if Mbete does not withdraw her threat.
The party has given her until today to do so, after her lawyers said she needed time to consider their representations and take advice.
Malema initially gave the National Assembly speaker until noon on Sunday but her legal representative asked for the extension in a letter to the EFF's lawyers.
In the letter, posted on Malema's twitter account, Leon Manuel, of the State Attorney's Office, says Mbete needed to consider the matter and take advice.
- Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) August 31, 2014
Mbete was responding to letters written to her by the EFF MPs in which they argued why they should not be suspended.
They face being barred from Parliament for up to 14 days while the inquiry into their conduct gets underway.
Meanwhile, Parliament is preparing for the probe into the EFF MPs conduct, when President Jacob Zuma's question time was disrupted, meets for the first time today.
Powers and Privileges Committee chairperson, African National Congress (ANC) MP Lemias Mashile, says this afternoon's meeting will be administrative, with the actual inquiry set to begin only next week.
Mashile says they first need to gather evidence and appoint someone to act as prosecutor.
"We needed to collect all the information that is related to the incident."
He says the committee must first gather evidence from audio-visual footage, the Hansard transcript and National Assembly staff.
Mashile says once the charges are finalised they must be given to the EFF MPs in writing five working days before the inquiry begins.
Mbete wants the committee to report back as soon as possible.
But Mashile says as each EFF MP is to be dealt with individually; this might only be in early October.
If found guilty, the EFF MPs could receive a reprimand, a fine, up to 30 days suspension or a combination of these sanctions.
An EFF MP who is not among those facing charges will also serve on the committee.