EFF bid to halt sanctions against ‘unruly MPs’ struck from court roll

18 January 2022 - 15:02
By Zimasa Matiwane
EFF MPs who tried to stop public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan from delivering a speech in parliament were found to be in contempt of parliament. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times EFF MPs who tried to stop public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan from delivering a speech in parliament were found to be in contempt of parliament. File photo.

The high court in Cape Town has struck off the roll the EFF’s urgent application for an interim interdict to suspend the implementation of sanctions against its two MPs who interrupted the budget speech of public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan in July 2019.

This follows the National Assembly adopting a report by the powers and privileges committee which recommended EFF MPs Sam Matiase and Primrose Sonti be suspended for a period not exceeding a month without pay as they were repeat offenders.

The report was adopted by the National Assembly in December. Another 14 MPs received a fine not exceeding one month’s salary and allowances.

“The sanctions emanate from the disruption caused by 16 EFF MPs during Gordhan’s budget vote speech on July 11 2019. The EFF MPs repeatedly raised points of order, which were ruled invalid by presiding officer national house chairperson Grace Boroto. 

“The MPs persisted in raising the same points of order and then stood up, crossed the floor and proceeded towards the minister. Boroto asked the parliamentary protection services to remove the EFF MPs, according to NA Rule 73(2),” said spokesperson for parliament Moloto Mothapo.

Mothapo said the EFF MPs were notified of the committee’s finding of guilt and invited to make representations on both the findings and the sanctions, but “they chose not to accept this invitation”.

In its judgment, the court found it difficult to understand why the EFF was seeking an interim interdict against the committee.

“The EFF launched the review application in December 2020 and has been able to approach the court for interdictory relief against the committee since March 12 2021, when they were notified of the guilty findings and the intention to impose sanctions,” said the court.

The court said it also could not understand the slow pace of the EFF’s pursuit of the review application.

“As no evidence has been placed before the court as to when the review is likely to be heard, the implication is that the EFF is asking the court to interdict the committee indefinitely.”

The court emphasised there was a duty on a party applying for interim interdictory relief to bring its application with conscientiousness and expedition.

Had the EFF done so, the review application would most likely already have been decided.

The court held that the EFF created its own urgency in the case, adopting a timetable to suit itself, and had failed to place all relevant facts before the court to support a case of true urgency.

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