‘Nkandla for sale’ protesters removed at Parliament

2014-02-13 13:32

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Youth activists protesting at Parliament with placards reading “Nkandla for sale” and “Claiming back Parliament” ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address (Sona) were removed by police today.

The officers said they were not allowed to assemble without a permit.

The group, who call themselves Activators, gathered and hoisted placards across the street from Parliament.

Their spokesperson, Tumi Jacobs, said they were protesting to remind Parliament that everything that happens in the institution should involve young people.

“We feel sidelined and Parliament is far removed from young people. We are here to say we will hold MPs accountable, and we are here to say, as young people, we are watching you,” she said.

Security in and around Parliament is tight ahead of this evening’s Sona.

Streets in the vicinity of Parliament are barricaded, limiting the movement of vehicles.

Police visibility is also higher than usual.

The theme for this year’s event is “20 years of a democratic Parliament”, and banners bearing the message can be seen in the parliamentary precinct. Zuma’s speech is expected to resonate with the theme of reporting back on the 20 years of democracy.

Another Parliament staffer said a lot of school children were coming to the event.

The price tag for this year’s Sona is R6 million, but could be more if the cost of the annual gala dinner is included.

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