EFF left somewhat muted as Parly adapts to virtual sittings

Veronica Mente, the EFF’s national chairperson, said that it was no ordinary year.

Members of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party object as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attempts to deliver his State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town on 13 February 2020. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)'s year in Parliament saw their time-worn tactic of multiple points of order somewhat muted as Parliament adapted to virtual sittings, while some of its MPs also landed in hot water for earlier misconduct.

Parliament’s Powers and Privileges Committee decided there was little prospect of bringing to book EFF MPs who disrupted the State of the Nation Address in February over the presence of former President FW de Klerk, and the red berets were off the hook.

But 16 EFF MPs were found guilty of contempt of Parliament for surging towards Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan when he was delivering his budget vote speech last July.

READ: Parliament finds 16 EFF MPs guilty of misconduct for disrupting Gordhan speech

Veronica Mente, the EFF’s national chairperson, said that it was no ordinary year: "But overall, in terms of Parliament, we did everything that we could do, given the circumstances."

The party is in court challenging in the decision by the committee.

Mente said that the case against the EFF MPs should have been considered by an independent body, headed by a judge, rather than other MPs who might be biased against them: "It should be a person who is neutral, it should be someone who is outside the Parliament rules who judges over those kind of things – there’s nothing that’s going to be fair if the same members of Parliament are going to be hearing the reasons why the members of the EFF are doing that."

Parliament is set to decide only next year on how to punish the 16 EFF MPs.

Mente said that the party would continue to engage: "We are hoping for a robust Parliament, a Parliament that’s going to hold all executive members to account – the office of the President, the government and leadership, the Deputy President’s office, the Speaker’s office – we are hoping that we will be working together towards a better South Africa."

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