Disorder in Parliament: How proceedings spiralled into chaos

BY CHARL BOSCH - JUNE 19, 2015

Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, has said that the party won’t be apologising for yet again interrupting President Jacob Zuma’s questions and answer session in Parliament yesterday, and that they will continue to hold him accountable until he pays back a portion of R246-million spent on security upgrades at Nkandla as per Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Secure in Comfort report.

“The Economic Freedom Fighters took deep offense from President Jacob Zuma’s last appearance in parliament when he mocked and ridiculed the opposition about the Nkandla question,” Ndlozi said in a statement.

“The ANC is using its majority to silence parliament when it comes to holding Zuma accountable. Accountability means after the Public Protector has investigated and said Zuma has benefited unduly from the Nkandla upgrade, then Jacob Zuma must pay back the money. We shall never retreat from this position because it is based on the supremacy of the rule of law”.

He also rejected allegations that the party was deemed responsible for disrupting proceedings, saying that “those who want us to move on beyond the Nkandla question are complicit in the undermining of the rule of law”.

“The EFF takes parliament and its work on defending the constitution seriously. We are the only political party that managed to raise cogent declarations in all 40 budget votes.

“We will continue to defend the Public Protector’s report to the end because it means protecting the constitution. Wherever and whenever we meet Zuma we will ask him to do as the Public Protector said: that Zuma must pay back the money”.

Proceedings to the session came to an abrupt halt moments after Zuma took the stand when party MP Makoti Khawula, had asked why no mention of Nkandla was made on the Parliamentary agenda, which resulted in National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete asking her to sit down.

Having accused Mbete of deliberately ignoring his rising on a point of order, Ndlozi’s protest resulted in her asking EFF Chief Whip, Floyd Shivambu, to control his MP’s, a request he rejected, stating that the they want to know when Zuma is going to pay back the money.

Matters then turned ugly when ANC Chief Whip, Stone Sizani, and party leader Julius Malema got involved in a shouting match after Mbete had continued to ignore Ndlozi who had jumped up moments before.

“Ndlozi raised a point of order, why is it so special that his [Sizani] point of order rises supreme,” an angry Malema remarked, with Sizani telling him to sit down.

“You cannot tell me to sit down. I will never take instructions from and you are not going to be recognised under a special rule. There is nothing special about you,” Malema shouted, to which Sizani replied, “Malema there is nothing special about you either”.

The shouting was eventually brought to an end after Mbete had to adjourn the session to consult with the various Chief Whips.

Once the session had reconvened after just over an hour’s delay, the various Whips had the opportunity to give their feedback with only the EFF announcing that they were not in favour of proceedings continuing.

“The President must give us an indication as to when he is going to pay back the money and not the report by the Police Minister,” Shivambu said, referring to Minister Nathi Nhleko’s findings that Zuma could not held accountable for the upgrades as the additions of a private cinema, chicken run, cattle kraal and a swimming pool, dubbed fire pool, were essential to his safety.

“We cannot be steamrolled towards the commissioning of corruption by a sitting head of state. We cannot have a President who jokes about an impotent claim of corruption. The people of South Africa, who are funding us, don’t want to see the protecting of chickens and cattle at Nkandla. We want to know when the President going to pay back the money”.

Proceedings after this appeared to run smoothly until party MP Primrose Sonti got involved in yet another shouting match with Mbete.

Refusing to vacate her position after being warned to take her seat, Mbete threatened to call the Sargent-at-Arms, which resulted in fellow MP, Reneilwe Mashabele, calling on Zuma to take responsibility and pay back the money.

Moments later, an irate Ndlozi again lashed out Mbete for failing to recognise him in favour of Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, resulting in EFF MP’s beginning to chant pay back the money.

With the chanting continuing to drown out her pleas for order, Mbete ordered proceedings to be adjourned despite Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, accusing her of losing control. The sitting concluded without a single question being raised.

 

CAPTION: Still image of Economic Freedom Fighters National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, addressing National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete moments before the party began chanting pay the back money leading to the adjourning of yesterday's questions and answers session  in Parliament IMAGE sourced from eNCA

 

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