Sunday Times

EFF leaders seek court order to attend Sona


● The EFF is hoping an interdict preventing the implementa­tion of new parliament­ary rules that aim to protect President Cyril Ramaphosa from disruption­s during the state of the nation address (Sona) will allow its top leaders to attend the flagship event on Thursday.

Parliament has already suspended EFF leader Julius Malema, his deputy Floyd Shivambu and four others for the whole of February, barring them from the February 8 event.

The rest of the EFF MPs will attend Sona, Malema said yesterday. “The EFF is not Malema. When Malema is not inside, those who are inside know the mandate of the EFF, and they must carry it [out] without fail,” he said.

“The MPs that are not on suspension shall attend, and they shall represent us and represent us very well. The EFF is there instead — there’s no-one who is going to say we will have this Sona without the EFF.”

Malema, Shivambu, EFF secretary-general Marshall Dlamini and EFF MPs Sinawo Tambo, Vuyani Pambo and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi were sanctioned for disrupting last year’s Sona, when they walked onto the stage at the beginning of Ramaphosa’s speech with placards demanding that he step down over the Phala Phala scandal.

Malema criticised the decision, saying it was undemocrat­ic, and now the party wants the Western Cape High Court to interdict the implementa­tion of chapter 2 of parliament’s joint rules, which provide that “no member may interrupt the president whilst [he is] delivering the state of the nation address” before parliament convenes on Thursday.

The party believes the new joint rules are a ploy to target its members. “They don’t want the EFF to be in the Sona — that’s why they took the illegal decision they have taken,” Malema said.

“We have launched again. We are appearing on Tuesday, and we hope the court will agree with us that you cannot remove representa­tives of the people, because we are sent there by the people.

“It doesn’t matter how irritating we may be, but [the president must] respect the voice of the people. If they remove us from Sona, it’s an illegal activity which is aimed at protecting Ramaphosa, because everything is to protect Ramaphosa at all costs.”

If the EFF’s interdict fails, the new joint rules will be implemente­d at Sona for the first time after the National Assembly adopted the joint rules late last year.

However, the EFF wants them suspended because it says they violate its members’ freedom of speech.

Meanwhile Malema, assessing voter registrati­on in KwaZulu-Natal, said the province is going to be crucial in bringing the ANC below 50% in the national elections.

“KZN is going to be the battlegrou­nd for [the] 2024 elections — it is going to be a decider,” he said.

“Remember that if you want to win national elections you have to win Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape.

“They [the ANC] know that Gauteng is gone, and the Western Cape has been gone for some time now, and now KZN is leaving. Once KZN leaves there will not be an outright winner at [the] national level.”

Malema added that the EFF was confident it would erode the ANC’s majority vote in KwaZulu-Natal and ultimately undermine the party all over the country.

“We are fighting for [the number one] spot, and if we fail we will be number two.”

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