A meeting meant to deal with a complaint of assault lodged against EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, held by parliament’s ethics committee, has been cancelled after it was decided there wouldn’t be enough members of parliament to reach a quorum, Business Day reports.
Shivambu was caught on camera in March last year, engaged in a physical altercation with journalist Adrian de Kock.
The matter was meant to be dealt with at an ethics committee meeting, but the committee, chaired by Omie Singh, has released a statement saying they received legal advice that they would need a quorum in order to have the matter considered by parliament.
“Due to the fact that parliament has risen and that MPs are busy with constituency and elections work, the committee was uncertain if it would get the required number of MPs … to reach this quorum to come to parliament to consider the matter,” the statement says.
Shivambu’s alleged assault was first confronted by the committee in a meeting in 2018, but a “crucial witness” was overseas, leading to the meeting’s postponement until now, as the witness has reportedly returned to South Africa.
The ethics committee said “the unavailability of witnesses to assist the committee to consider matters before it” has been a problem affecting a number of the complaints it has faced in the past parliamentary term.
Footage of EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu allegedly grabbing De Kock after being asking by him for comment and having his picture taken went viral in March last year.
Another EFF MP was also seen in the footage manhandling the journalist.
The EFF issued an apology over the incident after the SA National Editors’ Forum said such conduct was unacceptable. The Parliamentary Press Gallery Association also said it was appalled by the EFF members’ conduct.
Shivambu said in a statement that he regretted his conduct, which he blamed on having been in a hurry to get to a meeting of the finance committee, but he denied it was assault. He called it a “scuffle” and said he had not known De Kock was a journalist.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)