National Assembly Seargent-at-arms, Regina Mohlomi, says she pleaded desperately in Sepedi with the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, to leave the House following the instruction given to her by the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, to remove ‘members of the House who are not serious’.
Mohlomi was giving evidence before the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Committee on Monday. The committee was set up to look into the conduct of the twenty members of the EFF who are accused of disrupting Parliamentary proceedings and contempt of the House by their behavior on the 21st of August. Following a question put to President Jacob Zuma by their leader as to when he would pay back the money which was used for non-security upgrades to his Nkandla home, the EFF members started chanting ‘pay back the money’. When they would not respond to the Speaker’s instruction to be silent, she called on the seargent-at-arms to remove them.
In giving evidence before the committee, Regina Mohlomi says when she pleaded with the EFF leader to leave the house, the firebrand leader responded, ” We are not going anywhere”. She further said that she briefly left the house to go and look for the head of the Parliamentary Protection Service. When she returned, she says she found uniformed police in the house but she is not aware who had called them in. She says, at that stage, the members of the EFF were shouting and banging on the tables. Asked how she had known who to try to remove since the Speaker had not identified anyone by name, Mohlomi said she was “clear on who the Speaker wanted to be removed.” She further disputed the fact that she had any ulterior motives in her actions and argued, instead that she was following instructions given her by the Speaker of Parliament.
Still to give evidence before the Committee are the Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, African National Congress deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude, and Democratic Alliance deputy chief whip John Steenhuisen. The evidence they are supposed to give relates to the behavior of the EFF members of Parliament during the period just before the suspension of the sitting until the adjournment of the House. However, the members whose actions are under the scrutiny of the Committee decided last week not to participate because they felt that the process would not be fair towards them.