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Mbete makes U-turn on EFF

Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete has sidestepped the issue of suspending

25 Economic Freedom Fighters MPs by referring the matter to parliament's powers and privileges committee.

The committee met yesterday to investigate the August 21 incident, when, during President Jacob Zuma's question time in the National Assembly, EFF MPs began chanting "pay back the money".

This led to parliament being adjourned and Mbete said EFF members would be suspended.

The EFF had given Mbete until noon on Sunday to withdraw her threat, failing which they would haul her before court. The party extended its demand to yesterday.

Yesterday, parliament said Mbete has referred the matter to the committee for consideration.

"Once the committee has considered the issue, it will report to the National Assembly on its findings and recommendations," the committee's statement read.

The EFF's lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, was informed of Mbete's decision not to suspend the party's MPs in a letter by the state attorney.

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi welcomed Mbete's decision. Ndlozi described it as exoneration for his party.

"EFF maintains that none of its MPs acted outside the rules of parliament, and that it will proceed to robustly demand answers from the executive without any fear or favour," said Ndlozi.

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