Zuma Q&A: How events unfolded

BY CHARL BOSCH - AUGUST 7, 2015

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has threatened to take legal actions against President Jacob Zuma, following yet another dramatic questions and answers sitting in Parliament yesterday.

Having expressed dissatisfaction at the answers provided by Zuma relating to his paying back a portion of money spent on security upgrades at Nkandla, Malema concluded the near-on three hour debate by saying, “It is very clear we will never get an answer Mr President. Let’s meet in court”.

In his first appearance since being interrupted by EFF MP’s without answering a single question on June 18th, Zuma stated that the matter had already been addressed and that he would only comment when the various processes had been completed.

“This matter is being discussed through the ad-hoc committee in Parliament and by the Police Minister’s [Nathi Nhleko] report. I submitted a report to the Speaker in August last year, and believe this question is premature as nothing has yet been concluded by this House,” Zuma said to applause from the ANC benches.

Responding to his explanation, Malema indicated that the president had missed the point as Nhleko’s findings, which cleared him of paying back the money as stipulated in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Secure in Comfort report, amounted to little more than a presentation “with videogames he should play with his kids”.

“The only regal report is that of Thuli Madonsela and not these illegal activities happening here in Parliament with the ad-hoc committee and Nhleko. My question is simple, when are you going to pay back the money?

“You have never responded, even to the report you wrote for Parliament, on a date and method. You cannot avoid it as it comes back to the same thing,” Malema said, to which Zuma replied, “I have answered this question already”.

This resulted in tensions threatening to bowl over after party General-Secretary Godrich Gardee had enquired why the question was listed as the final on the order paper.

“By doing so, the question would not be answered due to the two hour limit and we need it answered today,” he said.

Putting the question’s placing down to pre-arranged schedules, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete was then accused by EFF National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of not prioritising correctly as “South Africans know you all have colluded to put this question at number six so that it would not be answered when time runs out”.

Rising on a point of order, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Steve Swart stated that Zuma’s previous interruption had denied them the opportunity of having their question answered, while Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, maintained no was collusion was involved in placing the questions.

“There is no time limit and we will get to the EFF’s questions,” Steenhuisen said, which resulted in an irate Ndlozi accusing him of simply trying to have the question avoided.

Moment later, a shouting match ensued with Malema and Ndlozi accusing Mbete of switching off their mics.

With order resorted and Zuma responding to the first question, EFF MP Natasha Louw rose to complain about remarks reportedly made by Freedom Front Plus  Spokesperson, Pieter Groenewald.

“I will not tolerate a white man speaking to me like that. How dare he use language like that. If you want to be moered lets go outside and moer each other,” she said with Groenewald accusing her of shutting the chamber door on him. Both complaints were dismissed by Mbete.

Shortly after, tempers erupted again when DA leader Mmusi Maimane remarked that the ANC and EFF appeared to have re-joined forces, resulting in a furious Malema getting up and accusing him of voting in favour of Parliament’s new rules, allowing for the physical removal of unruly MP’s.

“Mmusi, you voted for these rules to beat up people of Parliament. We don’t have an alliance with these people,” Malema shouted.

Having managed to restore order after Zuma had responded to the Malema’s question, Mbete was once again forced to call for order after outraged EFF MP’s started screaming and accusing her of defending the President.

This resulted in Small Business Developments Minister Lindiwe Zulu calling for Parliament to be respected, at which point EFF MP’s jumped-up in accusing Mbete of ignoring them in favour of United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa.

With more shouting and arguing continuing, EFF MP Primrose Sonti continued addressing Mbete in Xhosa despite not being recognised. Having finished her statement, Holomisa was eventually allowed to address Zuma.

Seconds later, while Steenhuisen was about to address Zuma, EFF MP’s again objected to Mbete ignoring them with MP Hlengiwe Maxion telling other members to shut up before lashing out at Mbete for treating them like step children.

“It is only fair that we follow the rules. There was a point of order earlier. Allow Gardee to speak. I know we can be an irritation but we are a necessary irritation,” Malema said.

More outrage followed when Steenhuisen, referring to Malema’s comments when still ANC Youth League leader, remarked that the same people who would kill for Zuma, are now demanding a bill.

“And you have passed bill that people should come in here and kill us. Don’t be racist Honourable Steenhuisen. Be transformed. You enjoy the beating of black people,” Ndlozi shouted.

Steenhuisen eventually managed to finish his point with proceedings being adjourned not long after without the intervention of Parliamentary Protection Service being needed.

 

CAPTION: Still image of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema blasting Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane for comparing them with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) IMAGE sourced from eNCA