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EFF wins battle over Parly sanctions

A court interdict prevents sanctions from being imposed on 20 of its MPs.

FILE: EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have won a court application interdicting Parliament from implementing sanctions against 20 of its Members of Parliament (MPs).

Western Cape High Court Judge Dennis Davis delivered his judgment today in the EFF's urgent bid to interdict Parliament from implementing the decisions of the Powers and Privileges Committee.

Twelve MPs were suspended for between 14 and 30 days for disrupting President Jacob Zuma's question and answer session in the National Assembly in August,and another eight were fined two weeks' salary.

The MPs chanted " pay back the money," referring to the multi-million rand security upgrades at the president's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Davis said when sanctions were imposed on MPs, the National Assembly must have careful regard for the impact of this decision on the rights of voters, represented by those MPs in Parliament.

He said the MPs who were suspended and fined were not aggrieved employees, but rather elected officials.

Failing to pay them their salaries and barring them from Parliament would impact their ability to do their jobs.

Davis was at pains to emphasise that he was not making a determination on whether the EFF MPs deserved the sanctions and that this was for another court to decide at a later stage.

While his judgment did not make a definitive finding on the conduct of the MPs, Davis said the EFF had made a case for interim relief, in the form of an interdict against Parliament.