ANC, DA slam EFF outbursts in Parliament

2015-06-18 20:08
(EFF website)

(EFF website)

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Cape Town - The EFF's chants in Parliament that President Jacob Zuma  should "pay back the money" were no more than a publicity stunt, said the office of the chief whip of the ruling ANC after rowdy exchanges shut the house down again on Thursday.

"It is clear that the EFF came to today’s sitting with a clear purpose and orchestrated plan to disrupt the sitting," said the statement from African National Congress Chief Whip Stone Sizani's office.

He said the Economic Freedom Fighters' demand that Zuma first answer their question on when he was going to repay money spent on security upgrades at his private home in Nkandla, was in violation of the procedures and rules of the house.

According to the rules, questions had to be submitted on the Question Paper before the sitting, with an option for a follow up question.

"But clearly the intention was never to ask a question or to hold the President to account, but to stage some publicity stunt through disrupting the House and rendering it dysfunctional," the ANC whip's office said.

Speaker Baleka Mbete adjourned the house shortly after it started for Zuma's question and answer session when it descended into a screaming match across the floor.

Then she adjourned again when EFF members took turns to stand up and shout demands at the president, with Mbete unsuccessfully trying to restore order.

Zuma appeared relaxed, one arm leaning over his chair as the noisy scene unfolded.

Calling the EFF's actions "self-seeking headlines-grabbing stunts" and "repugnant", Sizani said: ''This has to come to an end!"

"As parliamentary parties, we owe it to the nation to ensure that this important institution of our constitutional democracy is functional, effective and continues to enjoy the confidence of the people of South Africa."

In May, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko presented a report that cleared Zuma of having to pay back money for any of the upgrades that the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had said were not related to security. This included a R3.9m firepool, a cattle kraal, a chicken run and an amphitheatre.

The opposition Democratic Alliance were equally livid at having Parliament adjourned, and said the EFF had played into the ANC's hands, making it a win for Zuma and a loss to the people of South Africa.

"Today, the President escaped being held accountable yet again," said the opposition's Chief Whip John Steenhuisen.

This meant the president did not answer questions on the state of Chapter Nine institutions, the "escape" of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, slow economic growth and the unemployment crisis.

"The issue of the President’s corruption at Nkandla is important to all South Africans.

"And the DA will not relent in its fight to have the President repay a fair portion of the undue benefit he received from the upgrades to his private residence at Nkandla.

"But today’s sitting was neither the time nor the place to raise this issue."

He said the EFF were aware that Nkandla was not up for discussion, but pressed on about the controversy anyway, delaying and finally leading to proceedings being adjourned.

"We cannot allow the singular focus of one party to prevent the debate of important issues as they attempt to score political points."

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  parliament  |  nkandla upgrade  |  nkandla  |  politics

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