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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor


EFF suffers another court blow, set to approach Constitutional Court

The EFF sought an order declaring that parliament acted unconstitutionally by ordering the EFF members to be ejected.


The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have suffered yet another court blow in its matter against parliament. This after the Western Cape High Court dismissed, with costs, their application to have their removal from parliament during the 2015 and 2017 State of the Nation Address (Sona) declared unconstitutional.

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The application was based on the order by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces for certain EFF members to be ejected from the House following their continuous disruptions through points of order.

The EFF sought an order declaring that parliament acted unconstitutionally by ordering the EFF members to be ejected. It argued that this allegedly resulted in the Parliamentary Protection Services using unreasonable force, violence and aggression when removing members from the House.

In its application, the EFF contended that the Presiding Officers used their powers to frustrate Members of Parliament who were genuinely exercising their right to freedom of speech and fulfilling their obligations in terms of the Constitution and the law.

Parliament dismissed the allegations, stating that the EFF members, like any other Members of Parliament, enjoy the equal right to freedom of expression.

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It argued that it was undemocratic for the EFF members to act in a manner that contravened the parliamentary rules by deliberately attempting to collapse Sona.

Court finds against EFF

In its judgment, the court noted that ejecting the EFF members was done as a last resort and was necessary to ensure that the program of the day continued without unnecessary interruptions.

The court further found no evidence that any gratuitous violence was used in ejecting the EFF members or that their constitutional rights were violated in any way.

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Judge Derek Wille said: “It was a matter of common cause that a parliamentary member would only be ordered to leave the ‘chamber’ if that member had not complied with the applicable parliamentary rules.

“It was accepted that members ran the risk of expulsion either under the old or the new rules once and if a member disobeyed the rules and was accordingly requested to leave. The applicants conceded that they do not challenge the parliamentary rules and that this is not an issue for decision in this matter.

“The applicants say that by dressing up their claims against the respondents formulated as constitutional damages, this section finds no application. I disagree.

“The place where the alleged harm occurred does not chameleonically change the cause of action against the respondents and morph the applicants’ cause of action into a constitutional cause of action.

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“The conduct complained of is gratuitous violence, and by its very nature, this alleged conduct is a delict in our common law.”

Constitutional Court

While parliament has welcomed the judgment, the EFF says it plans to appeal it at the Constitutional Court.

“A court that dismisses brutality against elected public representatives who uphold their oath of office sends a crude message to its citizens. This normalisation and acceptance of such brutality at the highest levels of justice and governance contribute to the pervasive culture of violence across the country,” said EFF.

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“It is such acts of violence and constitutional disregard that significantly contributed to the ANC losing their majority in Parliament. With the ANC now at 40%, we can expect increased accountability…

“The EFF aims to appeal the ruling at the Constitutional Court, as we continue to participate dynamically and determinedly to strengthen our democracy.”

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