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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

EFF members, including Julius Malema, ordered to apologise for disrupting 2023 Sona

In a verdict following the disruptive 2023 Sona incident, six EFF members have been instructed to apologise to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Six Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members, including Julius Malema, have been ordered to apologise to President Cyril Ramaphosa over the 2023 State of the Nation Address (Sona) incident where they stormed the stage during Ramaphosa’s address.

The order is with reference to the 9 February incident, when Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu, Marshall Dlamini, Sinawo Tambo, Vuyani Pambo, and Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi jumped on the stage at the Cape Town City Hall, where Ramaphosa was giving the speech, despite National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s order for them to leave the chamber.

Mapisa-Nqakula then suspended the proceedings and called on the security services to remove them.

The Parliamentary powers and privileges committee heard the closing arguments in a hearing relating to the incident, which started on Monday, and found the members guilty of contravening the Powers, Privileges, and Immunities Act on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Parly hearings against EFF MPs proceed in their absence amid threat of legal action

The initiator of the hearing, Advocate Anton Katz, said it is clear that the six members “do not take Sona seriously” and they took it as an opportunity, so a message needed to be sent out that Sona is a serious event.

He said the EFF members, on the facts, “deliberately created and took part in serious disorder and disruption in the House, which was seriously detrimental to the dignity and decorum of the House”.

The EFF members had said the violence originated from the speaker and that the event was a “peaceful protest” in their submissions to the committee.

“Some of the [security] members who assaulted EFF members carried guns on them,” they wrote.

ALSO READ: EFF: Ramaphosa forfeited right to be president when he conducted business like ‘the mafia’

The members added that no cases of misconduct; threats to the speaker, the chairperson of the national council of the province, or the president or breach of the rules were made from the incident.

“We submit that the Committee should find the EFF not guilty on the evidence presented and on the common cause facts,” they wrote.

The EFF had announced its intention to legally challenge the hearing and its legal representative Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi had made an application for a postponement on the basis that Parliament had 10 months to prepare its case but gave MPs only 10 days to prepare their defence.

The EFF withdrew from the proceedings, claiming its sole purpose was to “suppress dissent” in Parliament, and “reinforce the protection of Ramaphosa”.

While the hearings proceed in the absence of the EFF MPs and their legal representative, the party said it would approach the courts to interdict the “sham proceedings”.

ALSO READ: EFF vows to remove Ramaphosa ‘disgraced, exposed, without a cent’

However, the committee’s chairperson, Violet Siwela, said the penalty for the members is to apologise to Parliament, Ramaphosa, Mapisa-Nqakula, and the people of South Africa in person in the House.

The members were also suspended without remuneration for a month, starting from 1 February 2024, and ending on 29 February.

This would mean that the members will miss the 2024 Sona, which is scheduled for 8 February 2024.

Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

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