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EFF unfazed by Zuma Q&A removal, says “not even death will stop us”

EFF unfazed by Zuma Q&A removal, says “not even death will stop us”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has said it would continue to protest the appearance of President Jacob Zuma in Parliament, despite facing criminal charges after yet again being forcibly removed from the National Assembly this week.

Moments after being called to answer MP’s questions on Tuesday, EFF members demand that the President not address him in light of the Constitutional Court 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.

A heated argument ensued with National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete calling on Parliament’s Protection Service to remove the protesting MP’s from the House, who had started singing struggle songs in protest against Zuma.

Unwilling to budge, party members then hurled water bottles and their hard hats at security with punches also being exchanged and a glass door outside the Chamber being broke in the squabble.

Speaking in a statement, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the party had submitted countless applications to Mbete’s office asking that Zuma should not appear Parliament, adding that the courts had also dismissed their application as it was deemed “not urgent”.

“This means, if arrest was possible inside the house, then the provisions of freedom of speech would be rendered futile because it would result or anticipate intimidation,” Ndlozi said.

“The provision requires that we be protected so that we are never afraid to speak and question power. Yet the court told us that we must first go and be beaten up then we can seek recourse”.

He said the party stands by its earlier remarks that Zuma cannot address members “until he is held accountable in terms of the fact that he has violated his oath of office”, as he, like ordinary South Africans, are not above the law.

“An oath of office is the contract he signs with parliament and the people of South Africa in which he accepts that if he breaks [it], he must cease to be President. He is not special or different to us all,” Ndlozi continued.

“Each time we have requested the Speaker to implement disciplinary proceedings against Zuma, she has simply imposed hooligans on us, who have assaulted us over and over again. Therefore, we have nothing left but to fight back. We will no longer simply allow strangers to beat us up in parliament, all in protection of a criminal who has violated the constitution.

“No amount of violence will deter us from speaking truth to power. Not even death will stop us, because even if they should kill us, our voices will multiply and our truth will stand tall way beyond the grave”.

In a statement shortly after the EFF’s removal, ANC spokesperson in office of Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu, Moloto Mothapo branded the party’s conduct as “utterly disturbing” and that Parliament must implement legal recourse against them with immediate effect.

“The disgraceful actions of this party are not a laughing matter as they threaten the sanctity of our democracy and constitutional institutions. We urge Parliament to immediately press criminal charges against the EFF MPs for the assault of the security staff of Parliament and malicious damage to property”.