Ricochet News

Presidency budget vote: EFF removed from Parliament

By Charl Bosch - May 4, 2016
Presidency budget vote: EFF removed from Parliament

Proceedings during the Presidency budget vote in Parliament on Wednesday descended into complete chaos when members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were forcibly removed from the Chamber in protest against the National Assembly being addressed by President Jacob Zuma.

Minutes before Zuma was due to take the stand, EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu said his attendance in the chamber following the Constitutional Court’s ruling in March was a cause for concern, as we “cannot be addressed by someone who has undermined the Constitution”.

“There is prima facie evidence that the President violated the Constitution. We cannot allow an illegitimate President to speak here as if nothing happened. He cannot speak here… we are again undermining the stature of Parliament if we allow Jacob Zuma to speak here,” Shivambu said to claps from EFF MP’s.

Video courtesy of Tribe2Tribes on Youtube

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete however rebuked his claims by saying she had responded to a letter about his queries, and that no basis exists for Zuma not to address Parliament.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu’s support for the ruling was swiftly rejected when EFF Secretary-General Godrich Gardee and then national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi rose on points of order.

“We did not ask Jacob Zuma to break the Constitution. You must at least put it to the house whether our motion (for Zuma speak) must be heard or not. That is how a democracy works. We are going to debate giving him money today,” Ndlozi said.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen then rose on a point of order, saying while the party supports the EFF’s view, it wants Zuma to apologise for violating the Constitution, explain how cabinet plans to meet its Parliamentary expectations, and how he intends to address the reinstatement of 783 corruption charges against him.

“We would like him to commence his address by answering those three important questions and give him the opportunity to tell the House why he has gone out of his way to undermine the authority of this House, the Constitution and the Public Protector,” Steenhuisen said.

Moments after Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Narend Singh had accused Mbete of declining the EFF’s application without consulting the House, an angry Ndlozi began lambasting the DA for wanting an “illegitimate president to speak”.

A shouting match then broke out with Mbete telling Ndlozi to leave the House, resulting in EFF MP’s jumping up and shouting insults at both Mbete and Zuma.

“Leave how, have I broken my oath of office? The person who needs to leave is Jacob Zuma… he has broken his oath of office, he has no honour and his word cannot be trusted. How can we respect you,” Ndlozi and Shivambu shouted with fellow MP Natasha Louw accusing her of “being an embarrassment to your own party”.

“How can you worship Jacob Zuma like this,” she shouted with Mbete calling for the Sergeant-at-arms to intervene. With the shouting continuing to escalate and MP’s protesting unabated, members of the Parliament Protection Service where then called in to assist in the removal. The party has since stated it would be opening a criminal case for being removed.