EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/FINANCIAL MAIL
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA/FINANCIAL MAIL

Parliament’s committee on ethics and members’ interests has cancelled a meeting meant to consider an assault complaint against EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu.

The matter relates to an incident in March 2018 in which Shivambu is alleged to have attacked a journalist within the parliamentary precinct. 

The ethics committee meeting was scheduled to take place on Thursday. However, in statement issued on behalf of the committee, parliament said the committee had obtained legal advice that highlighted that it must have a certain number of members to reach a quorum.

“Due to the fact that parliament has risen and that MPs are busy with constituency and elections work, the committee was uncertain if it would get the required number of MPs … to reach this quorum to come to parliament to consider the matter.”

The ethics committee has highlighted challenges it has faced in dealing with matters before it, over the past term.

“One such challenge has been the inability to be quorate at most of its meetings and the unavailability of witnesses to assist the committee to consider matters before it,” parliament said.

In relation to the Shivambu matter, the ethics sub-committee, chaired by Omie Singh, had met to consider the matter late in 2018 but was unable to proceed as a crucial witness was overseas, hence the scheduling of the meeting for Thursday as the witness is now back in the country.

While the National Assembly has been dissolved in line with section 50 of the constitution, the National Assembly and by extension its committees, are competent to function until the day before polling, parliament said.

It said the joint committee on ethics and members’ interests would meet next Wednesday to consider all cases that are still before it, and to chart a way forward considering the limited time before the end of the fifth parliament.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za