National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete wants EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu to face disciplinary action for statements he made during last year’s motion of no confidence debate in President Zuma.
FILE: National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete in Parliament. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN
CAPE TOWN – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has accused National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete of trying to suppress freedom of speech in Parliament after she referred the party’s chief whip to a disciplinary committee.
Mbete wants Floyd Shivambu to face disciplinary action for statements he made during last year’s motion of no confidence debate in President Jacob Zuma.
Shivambu, the EFF’S deputy president, said during the debate that Zuma would kill his political opponents, including members of his own party.
He refused to withdraw the remarks.
Shivambu is in trouble for suggesting that President Jacob Zuma would assassinate his political foes, including African National Congress Members of Parliament (MPs) and for saying that ministers Mosebenzi Zwane and Des van Rooyen are Gupta family appointees.
But Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says the Constitution and the law provide protection to MPs for the things that they say in Parliament.
“That’s why we reject the referral to the disciplinary hearing as an assault on Section 58 of the Constitution and the rights of our chief whip to freedom of speech.”
Ndlozi says the move is also an attempt to stifle criticism of Zuma’s latest Cabinet reshuffle.
Shivambu is the first MP to face disciplinary action in terms of tough new rules adopted by Parliament last year. But the EFF says it is prepared to fight to protect MPs’ freedom of speech all the way to the highest court in the land if necessary.
(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)