EFF disciplinary: First witness called

Several parliamentary officials will give evidence related to the EFF’s alleged misconduct.

FILE: The EFF's section in Parliament. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The disciplinary hearing against 20 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Members of Parliament (MPs) has resumed at Parliament and the first of six witnesses called to testify is giving evidence.

African National Congress (ANC) MPs on Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee agreed to call more witnesses after a threatened walkout by opposition parties last week.

Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele and his state security counterpart David Mahlobo are on the list of those to be called but are both currently out of the country.

Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip John Steenhuisen is also unavailable, as he is attending the funeral of his predecessor Watty Watson in Pretoria.

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude is available but only later this afternoon.

Parliament's Information Communications Technology section head Ravi Poliah is the first witness to give evidence in the case against the 20 EFF MPs.

He is expected to testify about whether or not the microphones and talk buttons were working properly in the National Assembly chamber on 21 August, when President Jacob Zuma's question and answer session was disrupted.

Ironically, the start of Poliah's testimony was delayed because the microphones in the committee's meeting room are not working properly.

When Poliah finally testified, he said no problems were reported with electronic equipment used by MPs in the National Assembly chamber on 21 August.

Poliah's testifying because of a claim by Malema that although he pressed a request to speak button during Zuma's question time, Mbete failed to recognise him.

Sergeant-at-Arms Regina Mhlomi is also expected to give evidence before the committee today.

Committee chairperson Lemias Mashile has adjourned proceedings to allow technicians to fix the problem with the microphones.

The EFF MPs face charges of defying speaker Baleka Mbete and obstructing Parliament's proceedings after chanting "pay back the money" and refusing to leave the National Assembly chamber in August when President Jacob Zuma was answering questions in the house.

The 20 EFF MPs have withdrawn from the process, claiming it's a "kangaroo court" where the ANC will be judge, jury and executioner.