EFF defends plans to disrupt Ramaphosa's Sona
As the clock ticks down to the State of the Nation Address (Sona) this evening, John Maytham reports from Parliament that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are likely to carry out their threat to disrupt President Cyril Ramaphosa's speech.
The party wanted Ramaphosa to fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan before Thursday's Sona.
EFF Secretary-general Marshall Dlamini has been telling reporters here at parliament that they do plan to disrupt the State of the Nation Address and he put it as a kind of democratic obligation of the EFF.John Maytham, CapeTalk host
He said that disrupting parliament is part of the EFF's oversight work.John Maytham, CapeTalk host
Maytham discusses this statement with Professor Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
The constitutional law expert notes that the Constitutional Court said it would completely destroy the reason for the existence of the Parliament if parties disrupt proceedings because of disagreement.
If one has a democratic Parliament, obviously one has criticisms of the Parliament. It's not very good at holding the executive accountable... but that doesn't give anyone else the right to disrupt Parliament!Prof. Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - UCT
That's why all the parties, except the EFF, agree to rules to deal with disruption.Prof. Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - UCT
Obviously it is your democratic right and part of democracy for there to be robust contestation - the theatre, the spectacle... But the rules say there comes a point where it becomes so disruptive where it's clear the intention is to stop the proceedings going ahead where the presiding officer can order the serjeant-at-arms to remove the specific MP who continues over a long period to refuse to obey the orders given.Prof. Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance - UCT
De Vos refers to instances during Jacob Zuma's presidency where the speaker misapplied the rules, in a way legitimising disruption in Parliament.
For more insights from the constitutional law expert, listen to the audio below:
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