EFF members could be jailed for SONA disruption

The disruption of SONA2020 could come with a heavy cost for some members of the EFF.

DA Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone has called for some EFF members “to face the full might of the law” after they delayed President Ramaphosa’s speech by 97 minutes.

Natasha Mazzone says Malema and co ‘in contempt of Parliament’

Cyril approached the podium several times, but didn’t get a word in edgeways. The EFF rose on several points of order, criticising the presence of both Pravin Gordhan and FW de Klerk in Parliament. Several spurious distractions saw the National Assembly take a brief break, before the Red Berets walked out of the chambers.

The madcap events ushered in a return to the anarchic SONA schedule of years gone by. Not since Jacob Zuma was in charge have we seen such heated scenes in Parliament. The constant delays and disruptions left opposition MPs – and the South African viewing public – frustrated by the upheaval. The EFF certainly made their points heard, but could it now come at the cost of their freedom?

Natasha Mazzone believes that Julius Malema and his colleagues were in “contempt of Parliament”. The third-biggest political party in South Africa are already facing a Parliamentary inquiry into the events of last week.

Should the committee find certain members guilty, they are also empowered to refer the case to the NPA. According to the DA representative, the worst-possible punishment is a three-year jail sentence.

“The powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures Act prohibits improperly interfering with or impeding the authority or functions of the House, and creating or taking part in any disturbance within the precinct while the House is sitting.

“In terms of section 13 of the Act, this conduct amounts to contempt of Parliament, an offence that carries a sentence of a fine – or imprisonment of up to three years. If any EFF members are in contravention of the Act, Parliament is within its rights to refer the matter to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).”

Shortly after the resumption of SONA 2020, a number of political parties agreed upon a motion to investigate the EFF’s unruly behaviour. However, Juju has been wholly unrepentant over the whole saga. Malema attended the Cape Town Press Club the day after, defending the behaviour of his comrades. He also labelled Cyril Ramaphosa as “FW de Klerk’s ice boy”, which suggests the tensions won’t be cooling any time soon.

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