EFF disrupted Sona for political reasons – Zuma

2015-02-14 17:30

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President Jacob Zuma believes that the EFF deliberately disrupted the state-of-the-nation address (Sona) to make a political statement.

“It is the view of the president that the intention of the political party that asked questions on the 12th was to deliberately disrupt proceedings for political reasons, as all parties will have an opportunity to raise issues during the debate and to ask questions on the 11th of March,” presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement today.

Three Economic Freedom Fighters MPs, including party leader Julius Malema, were told to leave the House after they persisted in trying to question Zuma about misspending on his home in Nkandla.

Security officers were called in to escort the MPs out of the National Assembly.

The Democratic Alliance walked out shortly afterwards in protest against the security officers’ presence in the National Assembly Chamber.

Maharaj said Zuma respected MPs’ right to ask questions and hold the Executive to account, but this should be done according to Parliament’s rules of engagement.

“President Zuma convened a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly, and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), on 12 February 2015, in order to deliver his Sona to Parliament.”

A joint sitting is chaired by the presiding officers of both the National Assembly and the NCOP, and the purpose of the event was the delivery of the Sona.

“Members of Parliament debate the speech afterwards, in this case on 17-18 February 2015, after which the President responds.

“Time is allocated for this purpose to enable the Executive to account.”

This included quarterly oral questions to the president in the National Assembly, annual oral questions to the president in the NCOP and written questions to the president on a regular basis.

The annual address of the president to the NCOP in November was also followed by a debate.

“The Executive also accounts during special debates called to discuss certain matters of a national importance,” Maharaj said.

“The presidency has given the National Assembly the date of the 11th of March for the president to answer oral questions. The NCOP date will also be confirmed soon after discussions.”

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