Mbete: Disruptions in Parliament won’t be tolerated

The Speaker opened this afternoon's sitting by reminding MPs about the EFF’s conduct last month.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has warned Members of Parliament (MPs) that disruptions in Parliament won't be tolerated.

She opened this afternoon's sitting by reminding MPs about what transpired in the House last month when the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) disrupted President Jacob Zuma's question session.

Mbete had to adjourn the sitting of the House on 21 August when EFF MPs refused to sit down, after EFF leader Julius Malema asked President Jacob Zuma when he would pay back the money spent on upgrading his Nkandla homestead.

Their conduct is now the focus of a Parliamentary inquiry.

Mbete says she could have immediately suspended them that day.

"Members should be aware that in terms of rule 52, I could have suspended the members concerned immediately. At the time, I opted for a lesser sanction which was to order the members to leave the House."

The Speaker says the disruptions were unprecedented but she denied calling in riot police to deal with the EFF.

"Let me state that at no point did I call on the public order police unit during the event of 21 August."

At the same time, the inquiry into the EFF's conduct will be held over five days and committee members have been told to deal with the matter speedily.

The committee will report to the National Assembly on its findings and recommendations once the inquiry is completed.

Malema had threatened legal action, should Mbete fail to give them the assurance they won't be suspended at today's sitting of the National Assembly.