Mbete suspends EFF MP from Parliament

Baleka Mbete suspended Andile Mngxitama for five days after he defied her orders to leave the house.

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

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete brooked no argument when opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) suggested she misinterpreted the rules.

In a clash with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the National Assembly on Thursday, Mbete suspended one of its MPs, Andile Mngxitama, for five days, after he defied her orders to leave the house.

Mbete repeatedly asked Mngxitama to leave the house, but he refused to budge, even when approached by National Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms Regina Mohlomi.

Mbete delivered the sanction on the spot after a fiery confrontation.

The drama unfolded while President Jacob Zuma was addressing the National Council of Provinces nearby.

The red berets tabled a motion without notice about the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

Instead of putting it to the house for parties to raise objections, Mbete rejected the motion, which was challenged.

Democratic Alliance (DA) deputy chief whip Mike Waters also tried to explain.

"The fact of the matter is the EFF member read out a notice of motion and stuck to the rules. According to the rules, you should have just put the motion to the floor, acceptance or not, and if the African National Congress (ANC) wanted to reject it, that would have been the end of the story."

But Mbete was entertaining no argument and told Waters the rejection had nothing to do with the ANC.

"It's not about the ANC Honourable Waters. In the processing of the questions of the motions, there is interaction with the table."

Mngxitama is one of the 20 EFF MPs facing sanctions after being found guilty of contempt of Parliament after the disruption of President Zuma's question time in August.

Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee will meet today to consider their punishment.