EFF suspended from Parliament for five days

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has been suspended from the National Assembly for five working days.

This follows the party’s refusal to withdraw from the chamber on Wednesday after being ordered out by Speaker Baleka Mbete during a debate on the Presidency budget vote which erupted in chaos.

The debate‚ which stretched late into Wednesday night saw the EFF violently removed from the house by Parliamentary bouncers‚ and contention over whether Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane‚ who called Zuma a thief and “accused number one” could in fact say these things.

The EFF argued on Wednesday that Zuma was not a legitimate president in the wake of two recent Constitutional court and High Court rulings. The party attempted to block him from speaking‚ however the DA said he should be allowed to speak so that he could apologise to the country.

In a letter to the EFF on Wednesday‚ Mbete stated: “In terms of Rule 53A (3)‚ you are automatically suspended for the period applicable‚ as provided for in Rule 54‚ and you may not enter the precincts of Parliament for the duration of your suspension. Rule 54 determines that the suspension of a member shall be for five (5) parliamentary working days on the first occasion during a session‚ which is the case here.

“You are therefore suspended for five (5) parliamentary working days with immediate effect by application of the rules and may return for the Parliamentary precincts and proceedings of the National Assembly on Wednesday‚ 11 May 2016.”

Meanwhile‚ eight opposition parties – including the EFF — boycotted Thursday afternoon’s sitting of Parliament‚ saying their attendance would legitimise an “illegitimate President”.

In a statement issued by the DA‚ EFF‚ UDM‚ FF+‚ ACDP‚ Cope‚ NFP and PAC‚ the parties said they would not be attending the sitting.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane stated: “We will not legitimise this afternoon’s sitting‚ and we will not legitimise this illegitimate President. He must go on trial and explain himself to the nation under cross examination.

“As representatives of the people of South Africa‚ we cannot in good conscience legitimise an empty speech of an utterly discredited and illegitimate President.”