The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has accused Parliament’s head of security, Deon van de Spuy, of holding secret meetings to smuggle members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) into Parliament’s chambers during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) scheduled for Thursday.
In a statement on Tuesday, the party claimed the SAPS members will be disguised as parliamentary protection officers “to unleash violence on members of the EFF.”
It said, “The arrogance to undermine the Constitutional Court and rules of Parliament so early in the term of the 6th Parliament to defend an indecisive and incompetent President will only collapse the proper functioning of Parliament.”
‘Fire Gordhan or we disrupt SONA’
On Sunday, EFF leader Julius Malema said the party will disrupt President Cyril Ramaphosa when he begins his SONA if he does not fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan from the Cabinet.
He claimed Gordhan is “running the country” and destroying state-owned enterprises. He also said Gordhan had misled Ramaphosa into promising the nation that there would be no load shedding over the festive season.
Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise said last week that Parliament is prepared for EFF’s disruption, insisting that its rules will be applied.
In its statement, the EFF said bringing SAPS members to SONA would be similar to what was done during the term of former President Jacob Zuma, whom it described as “corrupt and incompetent.”
‘We’ll hold Ramaphosa accountable’
The EFF said the move “is unlawful and borders on constitutional delinquency by the Presiding Officers of Parliament.”
It added, “The EFF wants to put it categorically clear that it will not be intimidated and will hold the executive accountable through all means necessary.
“If President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to continue defending the undefendable [sic] Pravin Gordhan, this will only mean that we have passed a point of no return and we will deal with him the same way we dealt with the constitutional delinquent and corrupt Jacob Zuma.”
The EFF has conducted a long-running campaign against Gordhan, at one point referring to him as the “dog of white monopoly capital.” Gordhan launched a hate speech case against Malema’s use of this phrase, but lost.
In 2018, Malema claimed Gordhan had a bank account in Canada where he had stashed more than R600 million. The EFF leader opened a case with SAPS based on his claims, but it’s unclear what has come out it so far.
For his part, Gordhan took on the EFF in Parliament in July last year, accusing them of “fascist populism.”
He urged EFF leaders to own up if they had any involvement in the VBS Mutual Bank scandal. He said, “They better adopt a different approach… if they have stolen money from a bank or anywhere else they should own up to it.”