High Court endorses Speaker unleashing violence on NA members – EFF

Court dismissed application to declare Fighter MPs were removed in unlawful and unconstitutional manner

EFF statement on dismissal of application against Speaker of Parliament for violence against Members of Parliament

10 June 2024

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) notes that the Western Cape High Court has endorsed the Speaker of Parliament's unleashing of violence against Members of Parliament (MPs) during the 2015 and 2017 State of the Nation Addresses (SONAs).

The court dismissed our application today, 10th June 2024, to declare that MPs were violently removed in a manner that was both unlawful and unconstitutional. It was also our contention that Parliaments powers were misapplied in doing so.

During the SONA sittings, the Speaker of Parliament directed the Parliamentary Protection Services (PPS) to brutally assault and forcibly remove EFF MPs for exercising their constitutional obligation to hold the executive accountable. Further, these violent actions were premeditated. The security personnel were equipped with cable ties and were seen practicing violent tactics on their targets before the parliamentary sittings.

This level of preparation and execution highlights an extremely violent attempt to silence our MPs to protect the Executive from accountability. So extreme and targeted was the violence that a woman MP suffered a miscarriage.

As a result, the EFF approached the court to have such abuse of power declared unconstitutional and to stop it perpetuating. However, again in 2023, the Speaker of Parliament practised no restraint in ordering violence against EFF MP's who wanted accountability for PhalaPhala. This systemic misuse of power and violent repression within Parliament mirrors the broader issue of violence in South Africa.

Furthermore, a court that dismisses brutality against elected public representatives who uphold their oath of office sends a crude message to its citizens. This normalisation and acceptance of such brutality at the highest levels of justice and governance contribute to the pervasive culture of violence across the country.

It is such acts of violence and constitutional disregard that significantly contributed to the African National Congress (ANC) losing their majority in Parliament. With the ANC now at 40%, we can expect increased accountability. The EFF aims to appeal the ruling at the Constitutional Court, as we continue to participate dynamically and determinedly to strengthen our democracy.

Issued by Leigh-Ann Mathys, National Spokesperson, EFF, 10 June 2024