Statement on the withdrawal of threats to suspend eff members of parliament – EFF

EFFThe Economic Freedom Fighters notes the political intervention by the Deputy President and the leader of government business, Cryril Ramaphosa to establish a political steering committee or oversight committee to deal with the events of 21 August 2014 and 13 November 2014.

This includes the paramount issues of the impartiality of the speaker, quality of debates including the kind of language used during parliamentary debates, time allocated to smaller political parties – the use of police into the National Assembly and inconsistency in the application of National Assembly Rules.

While noting the role he played in facilitating the agreement which in one way or another was going to be reached, the notion that Cyril Ramaphosa liberated or pardoned members of the EFF should be dismissed with contempt. Members of the EFF liberated and freed themselves. We are not passive recipients of Ramaphosa’s generosity, but beneficiaries of our steadfastness, fearlessness and insistence of principle as an economic emancipation movement, which will liberate this country.

Cyril Ramaphosa should never be portrayed to be a hero who saved the EFF, because he did not do so. Members of the EFF were more than ready to expose the weaknesses and unconstitutionality of the Powers and Privileges Committee report on what Parliament misnamed misconduct on the 21st of August when we rightfully damanded that Jacob Zuma must pay back the money. We are still ready to expose the unconstitutionallity of the entire process because we know that Jacob Zuma and Gwede Mantashe will overturn the decision presided by Cyril Ramaphosa.

Those who hold the notion, that it is tantamount to “letting the EFF off the hook,” are having a narrow minded outlook on the process of a multiparty democracy. The EFF has always argued that the matter between the speaker and its members resulting from the events of 21 August 2014 is a national issue because it affects almost all opposition parties alike. South Africa needs an impartial speaker, because it is the corner stone of our constitution in action.

The question that remains is whether the speaker of the National Assembly and the ruling party with its majoritarianism are willing to set aside narrow party politics for bigger values like Parliamentary integrity and patriotism. It is the view of EFF that during this 5th parliament, multiparty democracy has been under attack by the speaker and various chairpersons who preside over the National Assembly are caught in partisan and narrow politics of protecting the ANC and its leaders at all cost.

We have always known, as is evident from the representation made by Commander in Chief Julius Malema to the Powers and Privileges Committee on the day the 20 EFF MPs were summoned to appear, that the solution must be a political one because the ruling party cannot be the complainant, the lawyer, the prosecutor and the judge.

The punitive measures motivated by revenge on the EFF by the ruling party would never have resolved the impartiality of the speaker and the quality of debates or that President Zuma failed to give precise answers to questions from the opposition.

As a newly elected party into parliament, the EFF came with expectations.

One of these expectations was the quality of political debates in the National Assembly. It is safe to say this innocence was rudely violated by not just MPs of the ruling party but also its executive. There was an instance where two Deputy Ministers spent 80% of allocated time throwing insults, some of a personal nature to the EFF. It did not matter to the chair of the session that EFF party leader CiC Malema as not in siting to respond to the demeaning and judgments insults against him. It is sufficient to say that all EFF objections were silenced with the notion that it is a political debate.

The EFF notes the decision not to proceed with the charges as victory of logic over senselessness of the ruling party. The EFF notes the decision not to proceed with the threats of suspension as a victory of the fearlessness of the EFF Members of Parliament who despite threats to their salaries, kept on saying that Jacob Zuma should be held accountable and must pay back the money. The EFF notes the cowardly withdrawal of the threats of suspension as victory of the steadfastness, which has now been embraced by all opposition political parties since we arrived in parliament.

South Africa can now confirm that the EFF is indeed a fearless political movement, which will fight for accountability with everything in its power and will neither retreat, nor surrender even in the face of the most brutal suppression. The EFF is here to stay! No surrender! No retreat!

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters

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