SONA 2015 - 'ANC creating police state to protect Zuma': Opposition parties

FEBRUARY 13, 2015

Following the ejection of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) from Parliament and a walkout by the Democratic Alliance (DA) during a delayed State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Jacob Zuma, opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) accused the African National Congress (ANC) of turning South Africa into a police state in a bid to protect the President Zuma.

Zuma's SONA was delayed last night when the EFF demanded that he tell the country when and how he would pay back some of the money used for security upgrades on his private Nkandla homestead before he proceeds with his SONA.

As National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete ruled that EFF MPs Julias Malema, Floyd Shivambu and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi must leave, Parliamentary staff tried to talk to them.

Later, the EFF leader and his Parliamentary caucus were physically forced out of the National Assembly chamber by men alleged to having been plain-clothed police officers.

An elderly MP was seen falling to the floor, right into the way of the shoes and feet of the people around him, another person fell headlong off a desk, right into the middle of the melee and suddenly Malema was trying to hit the hand off someone with his hard hat.

There were gasps of shock from other MPs who couldn’t believe what they were seeing, some had to run out the way to avoid getting hurt.

Within just a few minutes, the entire EFF caucus was out of the chamber and the security personnel just disappeared.

“When we were scuffling with them, they asked us outside not to fight back because they are police,” Malema later told reporters.

EFF supporters protested a number of times outside of Parliament under heavy police supervision, being dispersed numerously.

DA walks out

The DA’s Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, whose caucus later staged a walkout, says the ANC is trying to protect the president after the police was allowed into Parliament.

“The job of the ANC here is no longer to protect the Constitution of the Republic, the job of the ANC is to protect one person alone and that’s Zuma.”

But Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says the ANC-led government is not creating a police state, he says the EFF arrived in Parliament armed with the intention to disrupt.

“Well, it was embarrassing but I’m sure it happens around the world and people behave or react differently to what they see there.”

“The speaker indicated on many occasions for members to leave, when they could not leave, the Sergeant at Arms was asked to assist, they failed to do so. We called the security of Parliament together with security forces as described in the Constitution.”