Parliament cautions Malema on ‘irresponsible’ threat to disrupt parliament

Parliament’s presiding officers on Tuesday cautioned against public threats made by members to disrupt the house.

The caution was issued via a statement by National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and the National Council of Provinces chairperson, Amos Masondo, who were responding to threats made by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema.

Malema said on Wednesday that his MPs would disrupt president Cyril Ramaphosa’s February 13 State of the Nation Address (Sona) if he did not fire public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.

The party has twice before threatened to disrupt Ramaphosa’s speeches but has not followed through. However, during former president Jacob Zuma’s tenure, disruptions were commonplace. Some of the verbal altercations have led to punch-ups.

Modise and Masondo said in their statement that Malema’s threats “were irresponsible and showed a lack of understanding for one’s duty to the public”.

“While the presiding officers would not lose any sleep over such threats as there exist 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.

“The complex challenges confronting our country require capable public representatives who endeavour to strengthen parliament’s constitutional function of fearless oversight over the executive, not impede its work.”

African News Agency (ANA)