A South African court has upheld a ban preventing leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) from attending President Cyril Ramaphosa’s upcoming speech marking the opening of the new parliamentary session. The ban follows their involvement in disrupting the event a year ago.
The court’s ruling means that the EFF leader, deputy leader, and four other representatives will not be permitted to attend the State of the Nation address scheduled for Thursday.
This decision stems from their suspension from Parliament for the month of February after they disrupted President Ramaphosa’s speech in 2023.
During last year’s address, EFF members were ordered out of the room by the speaker for interrupting President Ramaphosa’s speech.
Instead of leaving, the group, led by EFF president Julius Malema, proceeded to the stage, holding up signs calling for the President’s resignation before being removed by security personnel.
The EFF, known for its left-wing policies and representation of South Africa’s marginalized black majority, has clashed with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), accusing it of failing to address the legacy of apartheid and the ongoing socio-economic challenges facing the country.
EFF MPs have often attended Parliament dressed in red industrial work attire, symbolizing solidarity with the working class.
Female members of the EFF have been seen wearing uniforms of cleaners and domestic workers, further emphasizing their commitment to representing the disenfranchised.
President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address, expected to take place on Thursday, may also include announcements regarding the timing of this year’s national elections, anticipated to be held between May and August.
Polls suggest that the ANC’s support may fall below 50% for the first time since the end of apartheid, potentially necessitating the formation of a coalition government to retain power.