Chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Dali Mpofu took to social media to attempt to shame those who had accused him of releasing pepper spray or even teargas during the scuffle in parliament that took place during the state of the nation address (Sona) last week.
“They came armed,” alleged Manamela, deputy minister in the presidency, during a reply session to the Sona.
He alleged Mpofu had discharged pepper spray with the aim of sabotaging President Jacob Zuma’s address, and he also accused the EFF of “charging” towards against the “white shirts” parliamentary security personnel, who he said had actually been planning to remove the EFF “peacefully”.
“Even in the public gallery some of the guests allege that Dali Mpofu, the national chairperson of the EFF, discharged a pepper spray with the intention of sabotaging the presentation of the state of the nation, all to the harm of former heads of state and other leaders on the continent [who were in the gallery].
“Sitting here, in this House, I witnessed first-hand how EFF MPs charged at the ‘white shirts’ whose intention was to remove them peacefully and allow the business of the House to continue.
“The EFF and any member of this august house has every right to protest against the president and the government without fear and intimidation.”
Mpofu, a senior counsel advocate, responded by giving the deputy minister an ultimatum to apologise and retract his statements by 1pm on Thursday or he’d face legal action.
After there was no apology or retraction from Manamela, the “People’s Advocate” asked Manamela to repeat what he had said in parliament in public and face the ensuing legal action, but he had no such luck.
Comments in parliament are protected by parliamentary privilege and one cannot be held liable for defamation for what you say in the National Assembly.
“No apology! No retraction! UPDATE: My lawyers demanded that Dep Minister repeats his accusation outside Parliament within 48hours & face the music,” announced Mpofu on Twitter.
Manamela was not brave enough to repeat what he had said in parliament (and thus face a defamation lawsuit). So after apparently exhausting all the available legal routes at his disposal, Mpofu resorted to saying on Twitter: “I’ve been accused of ‘releasing’ teargas,’dropping’ powder & ‘discharging’ pepper spray … Am beginning to think it’s my accusers releasing gas!”
Well,IF they dont retract & apologise by 13h00 tomorrow,both he & ANC,on whose behalf he was speaking,WILL hear from my attorneys SHORTLY! https://t.co/IVsZz25s2H
— Dali Mpofu (@AdvDali_Mpofu) February 15, 2017