On Wednesday parties agreed to institute disciplinary action against the Economic Freedom Fighters leader, Julius Malema for causing disruption in the House last week.
The EFF leader was forcibly removed from the chamber after House chairwoman Grace Borotho asked parliamentary protection officers to eject him for refusing to withdraw his insult to Cyril Ramaphosa, the Deputy President. Malema called Ramaphosa a murderer during a debate on the Marikana Commission of Enquiry. Malema went on to say,” You can take me to jail for that, Cyril has got blood of innocent people. I will never withdraw that and I will never apologise to Cyril [Ramaphosa]. Cyril must rot in jail, he is a murderer, he killed our people. And if you are going to use this Parliament to protect murderers, I am not going to agree to that.”
On Wednesday the rules committee, chaired by Speaker Baleka Mbete, agreed that a disciplinary committee be constituted to look into the conduct of Malema.
During question time to the Deputy President last week, Malema repeatedly refused to take an instruction from the House chairwoman to leave the House for not withdrawing his remarks that the deputy president was a murderer. Malema had been referring to the Marikana massacre, which the EFF has accused Ramaphosa of orchestrating.
Last week new rules, introduced a few months ago, to deal with disruptive members were used by the parliament. The new regulations were first described as uncharted waters for Parliament by Baleka Mbete. The rules allow presiding officers to call in protection officers to remove a member who is refusing to obey a presiding officer’s orders to leave the House.
Stone Sizani, the African National Congress chief whip told the rules committee that the establishment of a disciplinary committee against Malema would hasten the process and MPs serving on the rules committee discussed no sanctions.
The DA and Freedom Front Plus have supported the proposal to set up the disciplinary committee.
Sizani went on to say that the level of support from other parties warranted the establishment of a disciplinary committee. He also said an MPs behaviour to insult another couldn’t go unpunished. Furthermore Siani said,“We have been cautioned not to insult judges because it reduces the stature of the judiciary as it did the House.”
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said his party wanted another rule to be used in the disciplinary committee because Borotho had applied the wrong rule when she called in protection officers. He said that had to be the last resort.
The FF+ also supported the disciplinary action against Malema.It also backed the DA’s proposal that the disciplinary committee consider the circumstances
A proposal for the creation of the disciplinary committee to the House sitting for approval in the next few weeks will be sent by the rules committee.