Parly gears up for ‘fight club’ as EFF issues challenge

Security personnel remove Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP out of Parliament during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on February 09, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images / The Times / Esa Alexander

‘I want to tell Cyril Ramaphosa today that if he can’t fire Pravin before the State of the Nation address, the State of the Nation address will be about Pravin,’ Malema said.

It’s nearly time for the parliamentary “fight club” to start and the perennial precursor to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) probably being unceremoniously thrown out of parliament has already begun.

On Sunday, EFF leader Julius Malema addressed residents of Schweizer-Reneke in the North West in a by-election campaign contested by the EFF, the Democratic Alliance and the ANC among others.

“Pravin must go. Ke tsotsi!” Malema told the crowd after questioning why people would attack a foreigner, but never a white person.

“I want to tell [President] Cyril Ramaphosa today that if he can’t fire Pravin before the State of the Nation address, the State of the Nation address will be about Pravin,” an emphatic Malema said.

“We will stand up there, we will stop him from speaking, we will tell him ‘you must fire Pravin’ because we must protect South Africa’s assets.

“We are not going to allow them to steal the assets of South Africa on our watch.

“Pravin must go, and Pravin must go now.”

If Ramaphosa didn’t fire Gordhan, Malema said, then Ramaphosa should go.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo responded: “The presiding officers of parliament, led by National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo, have cautioned against members of parliament making public threats to disrupt the business of parliament.

“They said such threats were irresponsible and showed lack of understanding for one’s duty to the public.

“The cautionary by the presiding officers follows reported threats, by EFF leader Julius Malema, to disrupt the president’s State of the Nation address scheduled for February 13.”

Mothapo said Modise and Masondo wouldn’t lose any sleep over such threats as there were appropriate mechanisms to ensure no disruption took place.

The “appropriate mechanism” Mothapo was referring to are the parliamentary bouncers, also known as the “white shirts” or the parliamentary security service.

It’s been a while since the EFF has been bundled out of the building.

The last time was in 2019 when the EFF in parliament charged toward former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, when EFF MP Sam Matiase had said the party refused to be addressed by a “constitutional delinquent”.

The bouncers fall under section 199 of the Constitution: The security services of the Republic consist of a single defence force, a single police service and any intelligence services established in term of the Constitution, and the rules are clear. Rule 73 (1) states if a member refuses to leave the Chamber when ordered to do so by the presiding officer in terms of Rule 70 or 71, the presiding officer must instruct the Serjeant-at-Arms to remove the member.

“If the Serjeant-at-Arms is unable in person to effect the removal, the presiding officer may call upon parliamentary protection services to assist in removing the member from the Chamber and the precincts of parliament.

“If a member resists attempts to be removed from the Chamber in terms of subrule (1) or (2), the Serjeant-at-Arms and the parliamentary protection services may use such force as may be reasonably necessary to overcome any resistance.”


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