Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs had to be removed from parliament on Thursday during Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget vote after declaring he was a “constitutional delinquent” who should not be allowed to address the House.
[BREAKING] EFF MPs have been kicked out of Public Enterprises minister, Pravin Gordhan's budget vote in Parliament. @NewzrooAfrika pic.twitter.com/KMdoZERHam
— Athi Mtongana (@Artii_M) July 11, 2019
The confrontation came just as the EFF was also announcing they would be supporting Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane against Gordhan in court.
JUST IN: ENTER THE EFF LEGAL TEAM IN THE PRAVIN GORDHAN VS. PUBLIC PROTECTOR COURT BATTLE pic.twitter.com/xy9FM5EILq
— Dr. Mshengu (@Mshengu_1) July 11, 2019
They raised their objections against Gordhan in parliament as a point of order based on a recent damning report against him from the public protector, which Gordhan is challenging in its entirety with an urgent court interdict.
The EFF’s point of order was refused, but they kept on raising it.
They then left their seats and began pointing their fingers at Gordhan, whereupon security officers were called in to remove the red-clad MPs, who resisted.
Gordhan could be heard saying: “They must touch me.”
Watch some of the footage below:
EFF MPs disrupt Gordhan during budget vote pic.twitter.com/O1fLUuem2t
— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) July 11, 2019
The EFF said in a statement late on Thursday that had instructed their lawyers to join in the defence of the public protector, against Gordhan.
Gordhan’s lawyers confirmed yesterday they had lodged an urgent application to suspend and interdict the enforcement of the remedial orders by the public protector and also to review her report investigating allegations of violation of the Executive Ethics Code by Gordhan, as well as allegations of maladministration, corruption and improper conduct by the SA Revenue Service (Sars).
They have argued that in terms of the Public Protector Act, the Public Protector should justify or provide “special circumstances” to entertain any complaints regarding events or conduct more than two years old.
“Despite repeated requests for an explanation on what ‘special circumstances’ she relied on for this investigation of matters from as far back as 2007, none has been forthcoming.
“The Public Protector misunderstands the law to arrive at a pre-determined outcome relating to the powers of intelligence services. There is no legal obstacle to SARS establishing an investigative unit to deal with the tax implications of organised crime and illicit trade like cigarette smuggling. In fact, this capacity is being re-established thanks to the findings and recommendations of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry;
They will be asking the court to award costs against Mkhwebane.
Last week, Mkhwebane announced that in her view Gordhan had lied to both parliament and the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture when he said he couldn’t recall meeting members of the controversial Gupta family.
An investigation into Gordhan, which the public protector said was conducted “under extremely difficult conditions”, also contained the bombshell that the so-called “rogue unit” was real. She also found against Gordhan regarding the early retirement of former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay.
Mkhwebane said the allegation of the establishment of a Sars intelligence unit – often called the rogue unit – was substantiated, and that Gordhan should have been aware of the unit while operating as Sars commissioner. She added that she believed he “was aware”.
Mkhwebane ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the national police commissioner, the speaker of the National Assembly and the minister of state security to apply the various remedial actions stipulated in the report.
These included the president taking “appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan; parliamentary speaker Thandi Modise hauling Gordhan in front of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests; the NPA finalising the court process relating to its investigation into the “rogue unit”; and police commissioner Khehla Sitole investigating Gordhan’s “criminal conduct”.