Cyril Ramaphosa’s involvement in negotiations with more than 11 political parties represented in Parliament did not save the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). According to the EFF, the agreement which in one way or another was going to be reached and the notion that Cyril Ramaphosa pardoned and freed members of the EFF should be dismissed with contempt.
The EFF was responding to the deal struck between Ramaphosa and opposition parties that disciplinary proceedings against the EFF would be held in abeyance in return for assurances that they would respect parliamentary rules.
“Members of the EFF liberated and freed themselves, not Ramaphosa,” the party said yesterday. The EFF welcomed the political solution being sought to replace punitive measures.
“We have always known, as is evident from the representation made by commander-in-chief Julius Malema to the Powers and Privileges Committee on the day the 20 EFF MPs were summoned to appear, that the solution must be a political one because the ruling party cannot be the complainant, the lawyer, the prosecutor and the judge.”
Ramaphosa told media yesterday that the opposition had pledged to respect leaders of government, who would in turn come to Parliament regularly to account to the legislature and answer “difficult” questions.
But Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane suggested that Ramaphosa had only secured a tentative agreement from his party to toe the line.
He said the DA cautiously welcomed the concession not to pursue the suspension of the EFF MPs, but signalled the party would not let up pressure on Speaker Baleka Mbete, whom opposition parties accuse of bias.
Ramaphosa’s decision to set up a working committee of parliamentary party leaders, chaired by himself with Maimane and ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani as deputies, was “an admission that Parliament is not working under the speakership of Baleka Mbete”, he added.