Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema was vindicated by the Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday morning when it confirmed that he had been unlawfully kicked out of Parliament in June 2014, after attacking the government over the Marikana tragedy.
The EFF leader had said in a joint sitting in the National Assembly chamber that “the ANC government massacred people in Marikana”, referring to the killing of 34 striking mineworkers by police at Lonmin’s Marikana mine on 16 August 2012.
National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise promptly ordered Malema to leave the sitting after he refused to withdraw the remarks.
Malema left with EFF MPs in tow, subsequently challenging Modise’s order in court. The Western Cape High Court ruled in favour of Malema, setting aside Modise’s ruling that Malema had been out of order.
The High Court found Modise’s ruling to be unlawful and also irrational in that she erroneously interpreted Malema’s Marikana statement to impute “improper motives to those MPs who were members of Cabinet or reflected on their integrity by literally accusing them personally of murder”.
The Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday morning dismissed Modise’s appeal with costs, confirming the correctness of the High Court judgement.
The ruling is likely to influence the style and content of parliamentary debates, giving guidelines as to what MPs are allowed to say during sittings.