Malema promises SONA disruption if Ramaphosa doesn't fire Gordhan
13 January 2020
If President Cyril Ramaphosa doesn't fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, he must be removed and his State of the Nation Address will be disrupted, EFF leader Julius Malema vowed over the weekend.
However, Parliament's presiding officers said in a statement on Monday that they were not losing any sleep about possible disruptions "as there exists an appropriate mechanism to ensure that no disruption takes place".
Malema was addressing a crowd of EFF supporters in the Mamusa municipality on Sunday ahead of the by-election in the coming week. His speech is available online.
"I want to tell Cyril Ramaphosa today, that if he can't fire Pravin before the State of the Nation Address, the State of the Nation Address shall be about Pravin," he said.
"We will stand up there, we will stop him from speaking. We will tell him he must fire Pravin because we must protect South Africa's asset.
"We are not going to allow them to steal the asset of South Africa under our watch. Pravin must go and Pravin must go now. Pravin can't be trusted. He works for white monopoly capital. He's a dog of white monopoly capital, he does everything for white monopoly capital.
"If Ramaphosa is not prepared to protect our assets by firing Pravin, then Ramaphosa must go. Ramaphosa himself must leave office because we want a president that will be able to stand and tell ministers when they are wrong and fire them."
But he also pointed out that Ramaphosa won't fire Gordhan because Gordhan raised money for his campaign to become ANC president.
"Ramaphosa must know that we do not play when we say Pravin must go."
Earlier in the speech, he described the EFF as the "most peaceful organisation".
He concluded his speech by leading a chant: "Pravin must go!"
In a joint statement, speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo warned against MPs making public threats to disrupt the business of Parliament. They said such threats were irresponsible and showed a lack of understanding for their duty to the public.
"While the presiding officers would not lose any sleep over such threats as there exists appropriate mechanisms to ensure that no disruption takes place, they find such perennial threats ahead of key parliamentary programmes objectionable and an unnecessary distraction to the institution's commitments to South Africans," reads the statement.
"The complex challenges confronting our country requires capable public representatives who endeavour to strengthen Parliament's constitutional function of fearless oversight over the executive, not impede its work."
This year's State of the Nation Address (SONA) is scheduled for February 13.
The EFF disruptions of SONAs was a regular occurrence from 2015, during the Zuma presidency.
In June last year, EFF MPs left the National Assembly chamber when Gordhan delivered his speech in the debate on Ramaphosa's SONA and in July, they stormed the podium where Gordhan was delivering his budget vote speech.
They were physically removed and Gordhan continued with his speech, saying what happened was the "defence of state capture" and that "we'll survive this fascist populism".
The EFF's targeted campaign against Gordhan gained momentum in late 2018 - the same time that their own financials came under increasing scrutiny in the wake of the VBS Mutual Bank looting scandal.