The EFF has condemned National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete for her decision to refer the party’s chief whip Floyd Shivambu to a disciplinary committee for remarks he made in parliament about President Jacob Zuma.
The EFF said Mbete’s decision was an attack on free speech.
It cited the Powers‚ Privileges and Immunities Act and Section 58 (1) (b) of the Constitution‚ which state that members of parliament cannot be punished for statements made in any of its bodies.
Mbete’s office announced on Thursday that Shivambu would face disciplinary proceedings after Shivambu last year warned the president’s supporters that “Zuma will kill you.”
“As the EFF‚ we unequivocally reject the Speaker’s move as deliberate suppression of free speech in parliament. It is also an attempt to silence criticism of Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle…” the EFF said in a statement released on Thursday night.
“The Speaker‚ by referring the EFF DP [Shivambu] to the DC [disciplinary committee] for what he said during a debate violates the Powers‚ Privileges and Immunities Act and seeks to create fear on parliamentary debates on Zuma.”
The party said it would defend free speech in “the highest court in the land”‚ if necessary.
“We demonstrated this when we won the court case regarding CIC Julius Malema’s remarks that ‘the ANC government killed workers in Marikana.’ We will also embarrass Mbete and her partisan rulings in relation to our Deputy President’s recent remarks.”