Cape Town – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has condemned the sequence of events that led to the party being thrown out of Parliament during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address on Thursday, February 09.
In a statement, the EFF described the behaviour by those in Parliament as “violent” and “barbaric”.
“Members of parliament were violently attacked at the state of the nation address by a mob of what is presumably a mixture of law enforcement agencies, including possibly members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), who entered the assembly chambers without any instruction from the speaker of the National Assembly,” the EFF said in the statement.
“This violence was inflicted on members to prevent a peaceful protest and the display of placards raising concerns on the actual state of the nation after the speaker undemocratically and unconstitutionally denied members the right to raise points of order.
“The scenes in parliament today, are reflective of the kind of presidency Ramaphosa leads.
EFF Statement On The Violence In Parliament And The Parliamentary Precinct During The State Of The Nation Address pic.twitter.com/eFLW5p5raJ
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) February 9, 2023
“Ramaphosa is a dictator who will weaponise the state at the slightest inconvenience or confrontation of his poor and destructive leadership,” the party added.
In a press conference held by the EFF on Friday, February 10, party leader Julius Malema said: “What the Speaker did on the 9th of February is totally unacceptable, unlawful, unconstitutional, and undermines the democratic culture, mandate and architecture of a democratic parliament.”
“There is absolutely no permissibility in the Rules of Parliament or the Constitution to treat MPs as a group and evict them from the Assembly for exercising their democratic rights because a Presiding Officer has a preconceived decision and attitude about the Members.
“All EFF Members of Parliament who spoke during SONA and those who intended to speak were going to do so within the Joint Rules of Parliament and within the Laws of the Republic.
“It is therefore unconstitutional, unlawful and unacceptable that the South African Police Service’s Counter Assault Team violently and physically invaded Parliament to remove peaceful Members of Parliament who were using their democratic right to protest,” the EFF leader added.
CIC @Julius_S_Malema addressing #EFFPresser
-We therefore have after thorough legal consultation decided to write to the Speaker of Parliament to apologize and withdraw that she allowed members of the SAPS to invade Parliament. pic.twitter.com/n8K1ylTGKS
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) February 10, 2023
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Picture: Twitter/ @EFFSouthAfrica
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Compiled by Junaid Benjamin