There was drama on Monday at a venue in Johannesburg North when the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema was pushed to the ground apparently for refusing to be searched. The firebrand leader had gone to the venue in Parktown to a meeting organised by the Deputy President of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and government, Cyril Ramaposa to try and break the parliamentary impasse between his party and the opposition political parties regarding the censure of president Jacob Zuma.
This, however, appears not to have worked as, straight after the meeting the leaders of the opposition parties came out with both barrels blazing from the hip. The parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Mmusi Maimane, was quoted in the media as saying that his party would not allow itself to be bullied by the ANC into stifling debate in parliament especially where the issue of Jacob Zuma was concerned. In his support, the EFF leader, Julius Malema added that the opposition parties would now focus on ensuring that President Zuma accounted to parliament on his actions.
Also speaking after the Parktown meeting, the leader of the UDM, The United Democratic Movement, Bantu Holomisa said that parliament had changed and the “No. 1” needed to get back to the a House to account for his actions. He added that it was also important to also investigate the summoning of the police into parliament on Thursday, November 13. Speaking after the meeting, the leader of parliamentary business in parliament, Ramaposa confirmed that that deal he had been trying to work out with the opposition parties was “off”. He blamed the opposition, in particular, the DA, for the collapse of the deal, adding that this was because the spirit in which the deal had been brokered had been violated by the Hellen Zille led party to continue with the censure of Msholozi regarding the repayment of part of the R246 million that was used in the upgrades to his Nkandla home. The deal that Ramaposa was trying to work out include undertakings by the opposition parties to restore the dignity of parliament and reaffirming the principle of executive accountability – and ensuring a favourable climate for these.
Also speaking about the attempts by the deputy president to get opposition parties to tow the line, the ruling party’s Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe said that he could go on with this as long as he ensured that the process was not meant to replace what he called legitimate parliamentary processes. In support of this view, a constitutional law expert said that it was not surprising that the deal had fallen through since such a deal could not be legally brokered by the deputy president but rather by the speaker.
Explaining why he had hit rock bottom, Julius Malema said that he had been pushed down by a security guard. He said the guard had insisted on searching him and when he questioned why he was the only one being searched among all the other leaders, he was accused of wanting to behave like a King and was consequently pushed to the ground. He was later reported to have said that the officer wanted to search him and not Ramaposa who had killed people.