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EFF welcomes court’s lifting of sanctions

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The EFF on Tuesday welcomed the Western Cape High Court’s interim order lifting the sanctions against 20 suspended EFF MPs.

“The Economic Freedom Fighters welcomes the Western Cape High Court ruling that the sanctions of the Powers and Privileges Committee as approved by parliament be set aside,” said spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi in a statement.

The ruling showed that the ANC should not abuse its majority in parliament to settle political scores, he said.

“The ANC sought to abuse its majority in parliament by intimidating the EFF into submission on the question of #PayBackTheMoney thus protecting the corrupt President Jacob Zuma.”

The EFF would not back down, he said.

“Come the State of pathetic Nation Address, we shall again raise the question to Zuma and we shall do so fiercely within the rules. No amount of intimidation and threats, even of our lives, shall deter us.”

Earlier Parliament said it would comply with the court’s ruling.

“Parliament notes the judgment… delivered today, which, as an interim measure, requires Parliament to pay, with immediate effect, the salaries and allowances to 20 Economic Freedom Fighters members,” it said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the African National Congress at Parliament said the interim order “only serves to delay the implementation of the sanctions against the EFF MPs, not to scrap or declare them unlawful”.

It said that in presenting his judgment, Davis had been clear that the court’s decision related only to the interim edict, not to the merits of the case, the fairness or otherwise of the parliamentary disciplinary process, or the penalties imposed.

“In this regard, we remain firm in our view that the disciplinary process was fair, just, open and transparent, and would stand any judicial scrutiny,” ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said.

Following the National Assembly’s adoption last month of a report by Parliament’s powers and privileges committee, six EFF MPs were suspended for 30 days without pay, six for 14 days without pay, and eight were ordered to apologise to the House and fined 14 days’ salary.

The matter originated with the “pay back the money” incident in the National Assembly on August 21 this year, when EFF MPs chanted and banged on their desks, disrupting President Jacob Zuma’s replies to questions.

On Tuesday, Davis emphasised that his judgment “cannot and does not provide a definitive finding regarding the applicants’ conduct” on that day.

However, he found that the suspensions had “failed to take account of democratic imperatives”, and had weakened the 20 EFF MPs’ ability to serve the public who elected them. SAPA

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