Zuma Q&A: “Pay back the money” raises security concerns to new heights

BY CHARL BOSCH - AUGUST 6, 2015

Opposition parties have voiced their concerns over the safety of MP’s when President Jacob Zuma arrives in Parliament to answer questions later this afternoon.

According to reports, a number of security staff were practising behind closed doors last night on ejecting unruly MP’s from the National Assembly, with rumours alleging them to be focusing on members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The party is reportedly expected to ask when Zuma is going to pay back a portion of the R246-million spent on security upgrades at his private Nkandla home, as recommended in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Secure in Comfort report.

In a post on twitter last night, EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted, “50 police man are busy training now in the National Assembly preparing to assault #EFF members of Parliament using the rule voted for by #DA”.

Earlier this month, Parliament voted in favour of adopting a new set of rules allowing Parliamentary Protection Service to physically remove unruly MP’s undermining the Speaker’s authority, but without any intervention from the South African Police Service (SAPS).

This follows after EFF members were forcibly removed from the Parliamentary chamber after disrupting Zuma’s last questions and answers session two months ago, as well as causing chaos during his State of the Nation Address in February.  

Speaking in a statement, EFF National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they remain underrated by the latest threats.

“We shall never retreat from our determination to ask critical questions and also demand Zuma to respect parliament, the Public Protector and the constitution. Nothing, including unjust rules of parliament will stop us,” he said.

“We offer free advice to the Speaker of parliament that she must come prepared to tell Zuma to answer the question as to when is he going to pay back the money unduly spent in Nkandla”.

Lashing out at the ruling party, Ndlozi stated that the opposition had been manipulated into dropping Madonsela’s report, resulting in justice being delayed.

“The ANC wants parliament to return to the deep sleep it was in, utterly toothless and a mere playground for their corrupt executives and president. They have even colluded with the other opposition parties to invent corporal punishment.

“The ANC is defying court orders, rubbishing the reports and office of the Public Protector, as well as the entire judiciary, producing a situation of general disregard of institutions law and the rule of law. Baleka Mbete is even on record saying Zuma is not equal to all of us in society,” Ndlozi remarked.

In a similar reaction, Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said the adjournment of a Parliamentary Oversight Authority sitting yesterday, due to discuss questions surrounding security, raises serious red flags about the running of proceedings later today.

“The inappropriate closing of the meeting precluded Members of Parliament from getting answers to important questions which include the current strength of the Parliamentary Protection Services, current level of training achieved, the recruitment process used to employ and screen each of these employees, and cost to the taxpayer,” Steenhuisen said in a statement.

“These are important questions that need to be answered before these “protection” personnel are allowed onto the precinct and most likely wreak havoc as we have already seen in the recent past”.

 

CAPTION: Still image showing Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) MP's being removed from Parliament during President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address in February