Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Parliament has applauded the decision of the Western Cape High Court, which dismissed an application by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) seeking to halt the implementation of recently adopted rules. These rules, approved in December, prevent any parliamentary member from interrupting President Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The Western Cape High Court’s ruling, delivered on Tuesday, deemed the EFF’s application for an interim interdict unsuccessful and ordered the party to cover the legal costs. The court emphasized that the EFF failed to substantiate their claim that the amended rules were specifically designed to target them, asserting that all political parties would be subject to the rules.

The new rules, outlined in Chapters 1 to 2B of the Joint Rules of Parliament, were adopted in response to disruptions during Sona by the EFF since 2014. Parliament stated that the amendments were necessary to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted delivery of the State of the Nation Address.

The judgment paves the way for the implementation of the rules during President Ramaphosa’s upcoming Sona, scheduled for Thursday. Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo affirmed their commitment to enforcing the new regulations.

Masondo clarified that the rules were not aimed at targeting any specific party, including the EFF. This legal victory for Parliament follows a recent High Court decision rejecting the EFF’s application to lift the suspension of Julius Malema and five other party members. The suspension resulted from findings of misconduct during disruptions at last year’s Sona.

Parliament amended its rules in response to these disruptions, signaling a commitment to maintaining decorum during significant parliamentary events. The court’s decision reinforces Parliament’s authority to enforce these rules, ensuring a disciplined and orderly State of the Nation Address.

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