By Elezo Libanda
Johannesburg, November 23- Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), along with five fellow party MPs, walked out of a disciplinary hearing on Monday, relating to their conduct during the disruption of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) in February.
Malema labeled the hearing a “kangaroo court” and expressed his refusal to be persecuted, specifically referencing initiator Anton Katz, SC, as a “white man.”
This walkout occurred after their legal team, led by advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC, failed to secure a postponement of the disciplinary hearing to a later date.
Malema and others are charged with contempt of Parliament for ascending to the stage with placards during Ramaphosa’s Sona speech, prompting security officers to intervene at the City Hall joint sitting.
They were served notices earlier this month for the hearing scheduled to takef place from Monday to Wednesday.
Parliament has referred the EFF MPs to the rules committee for disciplinary action.
Ngcukaitobi urged the powers and privileges committee to appoint an independent chairperson for a fact-finding inquiry and for a fair determination. He also requested a postponement of the hearing to January or February.
“The committee must not be perceived as biased against the EFF. There should be an impartial chairperson to decide whether the ANC’s political opponents are guilty of misconduct,” Ngcukaitobi emphasized.
He highlighted a case in the Western Cape High Court on December 4 challenging the validity of parliamentary disciplinary proceedings, in which the charged members have applied to join. One issue to be argued is the committee’s composition.
Responding, Katz stated that until parliamentary rules were deemed invalid, the committee could proceed in its current form, emphasizing the long-standing nature of its composition.
Katz criticized the EFF’s delay tactics, describing them as a strategy to avoid responsibility for alleged disruptive conduct during Sona.
Committee chairperson Violet Siwela ruled against the postponement, affirming a fair and reasonable hearing process.
Malema, protesting the ruling, denounced the hearing as biased, alleging persecution by a “white man,” and declared their refusal to subject themselves to what he termed a “kangaroo court.”
Malema’s history of crossing security lines in Parliament was also highlighted, indicating instances where he had to be removed by presidential security personnel.- Namibia Daily News