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Court finds EFF leader's remarks against Deputy President were un-parliamentary

14 December 2015

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes the judgement of the Western Cape High Court dismissing EFF leader Julius Malema's application to overturn his removal from the House on September 2015 due to his un-parliamentary remarks.

Malema was removed from the House last year for making spurious and unsubstantiated allegations - which he refused to withdraw when instructed to do so by the presiding officer - that Deputy President Ramaphosa is a "murderer". Malema wanted the decision of Parliament to remove him for his conduct, which defied the authority of the presiding officer and caused great disruption to the session of the House, to be overturned by the Court. He also wanted to the Court to declare Parliament's employment of ex police or military personnel into its security services unlawful. This was also rejected by the Court.

The court found that the presiding officer acted reasonably and concurred with Parliament that Malema's behavior was disruptive and warranted his removal. The judge asserted: "The Speaker, in my view, has shown beyond any doubt that there are instances of interference and disruption that justify the removal of a member who hamstrings and incapacitates Parliament from conducting it's business."

We are pleased with the judgment as it affirms the National Assembly rules and the authority they grant the presiding officers to swiftly remove MPs whose conduct is disruptive or threatens to collapse the proceedings of the House. The judgment further affirms the Constitutional prerogative of Parliament to determine its own internal arrangements, proceedings and procedures to govern its business.

In terms of the rules of the House, allegations of improper conduct against other Members cannot be made without substantive motion supported by concrete evidence. It is common knowledge that Malema would not have any evidence to support his malicious political posturing, which makes his utterances abusive of the freedom of speech MPs enjoy in the House.

As we have consistently stated, EFF's rampant abuse of the rules of the House, insults, unwarranted personal attacks and defamatory allegations are not conducive to lively political engagement and are a waste of the time that Parliament ought to be dedicating to better people's lives.

We applaud the presiding officers for continuing to apply the rules, which were created by MPs themselves, fairly and without fear or favour. We are confident that this judgement will go a long way in protecting the business of Parliament from unwarranted disruptions while guarding against abuse of MPs' freedom of speech as guaranteed in the Constitution.

We also note the Court's further ruling that MPs removed from the House must be subjected to a process outlined in section 12 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament Act before subsequent suspension.

ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE ANC CHIEF WHIP

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