Malema stages walkout of EFF disciplinary hearing

Julius Malema says the humiliation the ANC wants to inflict on the EFF knows no bounds.

EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have staged another dramatic walkout in Parliament on the instruction of party leader Julius Malema, this time from the Powers and Privileges Committee hearing in which 20 of its Members of Parliament (MPs) have appeared for heckling President Jacob Zuma in Parliament on 21 August.

The MPs are in hot water after chanting "pay back the money" during Zuma's question and answer session in the National Assembly.

The chanting was a reference to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on the R246 million spent on upgrades to Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Madonsela's report said Zuma had "benefitted unduly" from some of the upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, and should pay back some of the costs of the unnecessary renovations.

The 20 MPs risk being suspended from Parliament for up to 14 working days if found guilty by Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee.

Malema has recommended the entire hearing be stopped as he believes it's contaminated by the African National Congress (ANC).

Malema says the humiliation the ANC wants to inflict on the EFF knows no bounds.

The EFF believes the Powers and Privileges Committee is in no position to make a fair and just conclusion as it says most of the committee's members are ANC members.

The committee is also expected to analyse video footage of the August incident.

Earlier the committee declared the disciplinary hearing into the EFF's conduct would be open to the public, saying that it would be in the public's interest.

The EFF also tried to stop the hearing from going ahead with an application in the Western Cape High Court last week, but their bid was unsuccessful.

The EFF's lawyer was hard-pressed to prove that the application was urgent and that the committee was biased.

The Nkandla debacle is also being dealt with by another Parliamentary committee tasked with looking into the Nkandla scandal.

The ad-hoc committee made headlines when opposition MPs withdrew from the process after wrangling over whether the Public Protector's findings should be enforced.