We are empowered to call security – Modise

2015-02-13 08:28
Thandi Modise

Thandi Modise

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Parliament - National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise has justified the decision to eject the EFF from Parliament during Thursday’s State of the Nation address, claiming the house is ‘empowered’ to call security.

Protest and violence overshadowed President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation address on Thursday night as the Economic Freedom Fighters carried out their threat to confront him on misspending on his Nkandla home.

As riot police dragged EFF MPs out of the chamber and down the corridor after the party interrupted President Jacob Zuma’s speech, the Democratic Alliance walked out and accused the ANC of becoming as oppressive as the apartheid regime.

National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise, however, justified the presiding officers' decision to eject the EFF by force.

"We are also empowered... to ask for security - whichever security - to act... I think we should allow this house to do its business," Modise said.

‘They moered me’

EFF party leader Julius Malema was defiant following his party’s ejection from Parliament, speaking on the steps of the house.

"Whether they beat us or not, we'll continue to ask relevant questions," Malema told reporters in drizzling rain, the T-shirt under his red overall torn at the neck.

"We have seen that we are part of a police state where when people are unable to give political answers, political solutions to political problems, they resort to security apparatus and we've always said the ANC has sent South African into a security state, so today it was confirmed."

Fifteen minutes earlier punches and hard hats flew as police surrounded the EFF benches after Malema, Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu and spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi defied orders from Speaker Baleka Mbete to leave the chamber.

"The grabbed [Godrich] Gardee first, they hit him," Western Cape EFF leader Bernard Joseph said moments after the brawl in which he took several blows as well, while his colleague Emmanuel Mtuleni said he was punched in the face.

"They moered me."

‘Pay back the money’

The trouble began soon after Zuma took to the podium as Gardee rose on a point of order, demanding: "May we ask the president when he will pay back the money in terms of what the public protector had said?"

Mbete allowed questions from Shivambu and then a belligerent Malema, who made it plain that he would not rest until Zuma had answered the question the EFF first put to him on 21 August.

She told him to leave and then invoked the Powers and Privileges Act, first calling in protection staff and then security officials. Moments later police surrounded the EFF benches, and fighting began in an echo of the chaos of 13 November - the first time in history that riot police had entered the chamber.

Ndlozi, who said he was briefly throttled, said he believed the EFF had managed to deliver the comment it wanted about Zuma's leadership while Shivambu commented: "Next time we will come armed."

Focus on energy, land redistribution

Meanwhile, Zuma focused on energy and land redistribution as key priorities while warning that country's aim of achieving a growth target of five percent in 2019 where at risk.

He said stabilising Eskom's finances was a priority and acknowledged that the supply disruptions "are an impediment to economic growth, and are a major inconvenience to everyone in the country".

Zuma said government had a nine-point plan to "ignite growth and create jobs".

This also included revitalising agriculture, advancing the beneficiation of minerals and encouraging private sector investment. Calling land a critical factor in achieving redress for the wrongs of the past, he said foreigners would soon no longer be allowed to own land in South Africa but instead be eligible for long-term lease.

"In this regard, the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill will be submitted to Parliament this year," he said to applause from the ANC benches.

The new legislation would overhaul the tenets of redistribution and introduce a ceiling of land ownership of a maximum of 12 000 hectares.

"Once implemented the law will stop the reliance on the willing buyer-willing seller method in respect of land acquisition by the state."

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  baleka mbete  |  jacob zuma  |  julius malema  |  thandi modise  |  cape town  |  state of the nation 2015  |  parliament 2015

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