Zuma Q&A: Ruling party lambasted for turning Parli into house of shame

BY CHARL BOSCH - MAY 18, 2016

The Congress of the People (Cope) has accused the African National Congress (ANC) of turning Parliament into “a House of shame” after yet another chaotic sitting on Tuesday, when members of the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) were forcibly removed for trying to block President Jacob Zuma answering questions.

Moments after being called to the stand, EFF MP’s rose on points of order to demand that the President not address them in light of the Constitutional Court ruling in March, which found that he violated his oath of office by not adhering to the remedial actions of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report.

“He has broken his office and he was must be charged. President Zuma must not speak in Parliament unless you do something,” MP Hlengiwe Maxon told National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.

A 15-minute exchange of words and shouting of insults followed with Mbete calling security to remove protesting EFF MP, who had begun singing struggle songs. Proceedings then turned ugly when MP’s hurled water bottles and their hard hats at security, with a glass door outside the Chamber also being damaged in the skirmish.

“We only have our lives; therefore, we are going to put our lives in defence of the Constitution. Zuma will never find peace in this Parliament,” EFF leader Julius Malema told the media outside Parliament.

“Zuma is not a legitimate President of the Republic of South Africa. We cannot be led by a man who has failed to uphold, defend and protect the constitution. We will fight with everything we have. Whether it is a negative image for Parliament or not, you will thank us once we restore the dignity of this Parliament by removing Zuma”.

In a statement, Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the National Assembly had denigrated from witnessing the miracle of 1994, to a “battlefield where MPs exchange blows with security officials and disorder prevails”.

“Parliament [today] experienced its darkest moment: MPs and security personnel exchanged blows in full view of the nation and the world. It is a national disgrace,” Bloem said.

He said the ruling party’s response to the Constitutional Court ruling had been underwhelming and viewed as a simple slap on the writs, as it continues to show the judgement and everyone else the middle finger.

“There are only losers all round while this impasse continues. Political parties are becoming fierce enemies of one another. The ANC is too self-serving and too self-centred to produce a solution,” Bloem continued.

“What is happening in parliament is no circus. It is conflict on a battlefield with dangerous consequences for the whole nation. We condemn the bullying tactics of the ruling party. Its attempt at forcing Mr Zuma down the throats of all of us is leading to a truly untenable situation”.