Home South African Malema promises no fighting with ‘bouncers’ at Parliament’s opening

Malema promises no fighting with ‘bouncers’ at Parliament’s opening

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Ahead of this morning’s landmark first sitting of South Africa’s seventh democratic Parliament, EFF leader Julius Malema has promised that his party’s MPs would not seek to disrupt proceedings as in previous years.

At a press briefing in the Taj, Cape Town, EFF leader Julius Malema said former president Jacob Zuma’s MK Party should be allowed to lead and that the ANC was dying. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

AHEAD of this morning’s landmark first sitting of South Africa’s seventh democratic Parliament, EFF leader Julius Malema has promised that his party’s MPs would not seek to disrupt proceedings as in previous years.

“We’ll fully participate in this Parliament, this time around we’ve taken a decision not to play a role of a disruptor. Of being robust, of engaging to a point where we follow up that which was rejected, illegally, in Parliament through peaceful protest on the streets.

“You will never see us on the stage, you’ll never see us fighting with any bouncer, anything of that sort. We are here as a 10-year-old organisation with mature, parliamentary politics, well-experienced to make sure that the views of those who voted for us are well-represented,” Malema said at a press briefing at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town on Thursday.

Earlier, Parliament Secretary Xolile George, addressing the media, said the chosen venue for today’s first sitting, and that of the National Council of Provinces tomorrow, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), was ready to host MPs.

Malema said the EFF would support the ANC’s candidate for president only if the party’s MPs supported an EFF member’s election as the Speaker of the National Assembly.

But he reiterated that his party would not work with a government that included the DA and other “Oppenheimer-funded” parties.

“We do not have concrete agreements with the ANC, which has said it will come back to us after the two official meetings we held with them.

“We are, however, aware that the ANC is finalising agreements to work with the DA, FF Plus and other reactionary political parties. As we said, the EFF will not work with a government that includes the right wing and other reactionary political parties,” said Malema. He said the EFF had met with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We said to the president that despite the fact that we are not participating in the Cabinet, we will, however, ask him to ask the ANC to support our candidate for the Speaker of Parliament, and in exchange for that, we will support the ANC candidate for president, because we believe that the party that got the highest number should lead,” said Malema.

On Thursday it became clear that the ANC, the DA and the IFP would form the much-touted Government of National Unity after National Freedom Party leader Ivan Barnes indicated during a press conference that his party, which holds the balance of power in KwaZulu-Natal, would form a party of a “Government of Provincial Unity”, thus excluding the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) which got 45% of the vote in the province.

On Thursday evening, the ANC also convened a special National Executive Committee at the Cape Sun hotel.

Secretary-general Fikile Mbalula confirmed that a breakthrough had been reached on the eve of the election of the National Assembly Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the President today.

Addressing the media, Mbalula said they were looking forward to the start of the seventh Parliament and establishment of the GNU, but refused to disclose which parties would join it.

The ANC’s negotiation team held engagements with political parties that received seats in Parliament and looked at the national dialogue, he said.

“The ANC is not yet in a position to give details in relation to these discussions. We started with exploratory discussion that led to firming up positions by political parties as well as firming our position on GNU with different parties,” he said.

Mbalula said they engaged about 17 parties except two, with many agreeing to the GNU. However, the ANC and EFF did not find each other.

The agreement reached with parties would be made public in the interest of transparency and accountability to the electorate, he promised.

This would be followed by the nomination and election of a Speaker and Deputy Speaker, who will then be part of the election process of the president.

The same process would be followed in the NCOP, with the swearing-in of the 54 permanent delegates. Party members who missed out on the swearing-in would take the oath at a later stage with the Chief Justice.

Meanwhile, as part of voting, the presiding officer will announce the names of the candidates who have been nominated, without allowing any debate. If only one candidate is nominated, the presiding officer will declare that candidate elected. If multiple candidates are put forward, a secret ballot vote will be used to cast the votes.

This process will take about 45 minutes for the ballots to be printed, and two-and-a-half hours for the voting and counting process, overseen by the Chief Justice.

In the NCOP, one member from each of the nine provinces is entitled to cast one vote.

He or she elected as president must take office within five days of taking the oath, with the Inauguration scheduled for June 19 in Pretoria.

Once the president has assumed office and appointed his Cabinet, he or she must convene a joint sitting to set the tone for the opening of Parliament.

MPs will embark on a four-day induction programme that will start on July 2 and run until July 5. It will cover a wide range of topics, including an introduction to the core business of Parliament.

They will also be allocated homes, offices, and tools of trade to ensure that they are fully equipped to perform their duties.

Although the exact budget costs for the start of the seventh Parliament will not be known for some time, R58 million has been set aside for this purpose.

This budget is intended to cover a wide range of essentials, such as setting up parliamentary precincts, giving MPs tools of their trade, and organising first sessions and inductions, which will include the incoming president’s Opening of Parliament Address.

George also revealed that the parliamentary building, which was gutted by a fire in January 2022, is set to be renovated and completed by April 2026.

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