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Monday, 20 November 2023 10:11

Malema, EFF MPs walk out of parliament's disciplinary hearing citing a Kangaroo court.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Caption: Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party leader Julius Malema protest on stage as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attempts to deliver his 2023 state-of-the-nation address (SONA) at the Cape Town City Hall in Cape Town on February 9, 2023.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and members of his party have walked out of their disciplinary hearings for disrupting the State of the Nationa Address (SONA) earlier this year.

Malema said that they would not be subjected to what he called a "kangaroo court".

The Powers and Privileges Committee met on Monday morning to begin the hearings, which are meant to establish whether the MPs breached the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.

Parliament has charged Malema and five other EFF MPs for storming the stage and disrupting President Cyril Ramaphosa's speech in February.

They include Malema, Floyd Shivambu, Marshall Dlamini, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Vuyani Pambo and Sinawo Thambo.

During the State of the Nation address in February, EFF MPs raised several points of order, which led National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to ask that they be removed from the chamber.

As the MPs walked out, some of them stormed onto the stage where Ramaphosa was sitting.

The disciplinary hearings continued, with Malema and the EFF's defence also calling for a postponement of the hearings.

The EFF has indicated that it has approached the high court in Cape Town to halt the disciplinary hearings pending their legal challenge to the disciplinary rules of Parliament.

"If you continue constituting the committee in the current fashion you will fall foul of the common law rule against bias. Your proceedings will be unlawful and unconstitutional. So, that is why we do not ask that the matter should not sit. We never made that request but what we do ask is that the matter should sit before a neutral, independent chairperson," says Adv Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, EFF legal counsel.

However, this was opposed by the initiator of the hearings. 

The powers and privileges committee conducting the disciplinary hearings refused the EFF's application to have the matter postponed to next year.

The committee also refused an application to have a retired judge hear the matter first.

The initiator of the hearing, advocate Anton Katz said, that according to rule 155 of parliamentary law, the committee has been capacitated to act and decide on what disciplinary action should be taken. 

He said the postponement should have been filed on time and not two days before the hearing. 

Malema objected to the committee's decision and instructed his lawyers to leave the proceedings while calling Parliament-appointed initiator, Katz.

"No white man will persecute the EFF and we are not going to accept to appear before this white man and before this kangaroo court."

But Katz said that the hearings could proceed without Malema and the EFF present.

"Such an employee must be prepared to accept the consequences thereof, one of which is the inquiry will proceed in his absence and adverse findings may be made."

Malema said its disciplinary hearing should not be at the mercy of its political opponents. And it wants the committee to wait for the outcome of the December 4 High Court case, on the legal challenge over rules of the Parliamentary disciplinary hearing.

Watch Live in the video below.

Video Courtesy of Parliament.