EFF parliament case thrown out of court

The Western Cape High Court has thrown the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFFs’) urgent interdict application to suspend sanctions against its members out of court.

A report from the National Assembly’s (NA’s) Powers and Privileges Committee penalised EFF members for disrupting Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget vote speech on 11 July 2019.

The committee ruled that EFF MPs Nthako Matiase and Nokulunga Sonti did not receive their salaries for a month, while 14 other MPs were fined one month’s salary and allowances.

The EFF MPs repeatedly raised points of order, which were ruled invalid by Presiding Officer NA House Chairperson Grace Boroto.

But the MPs persisted in raising the same points of order. They stood up, crossed the floor, and proceeded towards the Gordhan.

Boroto then asked the Parliamentary Protection Services to remove the EFF MPs from the house.

The party had brought an application for an interim interdict, court pending the finalisation of the EFFs’ review application, which was launched in December 2020.

“The EFF had applied to have the committee report and the process leading up to its adoption declared unlawful, reviewed and set aside,” said Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

In March last, EFF MPs were notified of the committee’s finding of guilt and were invited to make representations on both the findings and the sanctions. They chose not to accept this invitation.

In its judgement, the court said it 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 12 March 2021, when they were notified of the guilty findings and the intention to impose sanctions,” said the court.

The court also said that it could not understand the slow pace of the EFFs’ 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 further emphasised there is 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 have already been decided.

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

The court ordered the EFF to pay costs.

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Compiled by Narissa Subramoney

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