CAPE TOWN – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is making headlines again following yet another fight in Parliament.
The red berets have been involved in a number of scuffles in the National Assembly, the latest of which took place following the 2019 State of the Nation Address on Thursday.
In a video shared with Eyewitness News, EFF leader Julius Malema can be seen arguing with an unknown man thought to be a police officer or security official. EFF Member of Parliament Marshall Dlamini slaps the man after what seems like a verbal confrontation. While the EFF has not responded to EWN for comment yet, Parliament has confirmed an investigation is underway.
Here are five other occasions where things got heated in Parly.
1. SECURITY BREACH
On 17 May 2016, during former President Jacob Zuma's appearance in the National Assembly for a question and answer session, EFF MPs clashed with security and property was damaged after the party’s supporters forced their way through the corridors of Parliament. It was alleged Malema’s private security got involved and the matter was handed over to officials for further investigation.
2. FISTS FLY
Last year, a scuffle broke out between EFF and Agang SA MPs. Agang SA MP Andries Tlouamma and the EFF’s Nazier Paulsen were asked to leave following the incident and Parliament handed the matter over to its disciplinary committee. Two other EFF MPs, as well as a Democratic Alliance MP, also faced the committee following a verbal spat.
3. ‘NO PICTURES’
The party’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu was also caught on camera a year ago assaulting a journalist outside Parliament. Media24's Adrian de Kock was outside Parliament following former Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille’s disciplinary hearing.
De Kock said he asked to take a picture of Shivambu, who then attempted to grab his phone. Shivambu later apologised and said: “The scuffle happened and was never an assault on the journalist or media freedom.”
4. VERBAL SPAT
The EFF’s leader and DA chief whip John Steenhuisen got into a verbal spat last year. This time around, Steenhuisen called Malema a “VBS bank looter” – referring to the VBS scandal in which R1.8 billion was looted from the bank.
Malema responded to Steenhuisen and called him a racist and claimed Steenhuisen was accused of rape. A shouting match followed, with chants of “racist” ringing through the chamber.
In February 2015, Malema and his parliamentary caucus were physically forced out of the National Assembly chamber. The incident ended in a brawl between the red berets and men alleged to have been police officers in plain-clothes.
A number of EFF members were injured and Parliament was criticised for the manner in which EFF MPs were removed, who at the time demanded that Zuma pay back the money for security upgrades to his Nkandla home.
The public protector released a report, Secure in Comfort, showing the upgrades were paid for by state money.