Nkandla: ‘Zuma ridicules Parliament, engages in empty rhetoric’

2015-06-18 15:56

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As soon as President Jacob Zuma approached the podium in the National Assembly this afternoon he was shouted down by Economic Freedom Fighters MPs, who wanted him to tell the house when he would pay back the money. 

Zuma was in the house for the quarterly question-and-answer session. 

EFF MP Makoti Khawula was the first to rise on a point of order even before Zuma greeted the house. Speaking in isiZulu, she urged the president, as someone who respected Parliament, to tell the nation when he would comply with the recommendations of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who found that Zuma and his family unduly benefited from the security upgrades at his home in Nkandla. 

She said this was a question that was being asked not only by the EFF, but by “South Africa as a whole – nine provinces”. 

“It is South Africa that wants to know, when is its money being paid back,” she added. 

Speaker Baleka Mbete spoke over Khawula, instructing her to take her seat so that Zuma could proceed with the business of the day. 

Mbete reiterated that the occasion and the only item on the agenda was for Zuma to answer oral questions. 
As soon as Khawula took her seat, another EFF MP, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, rose and said that “the president has rendered our Parliament useless”. 

“The president does not take Parliament seriously.The president comes here and makes a mockery of our questions and is allowed to go,” he said in reference to Zuma mocking MPs whom he said were obsessed with the Nkandla issue. 

Ndlozi said Zuma ridicules Parliament and only engages in empty rhetoric. 

At this point the ANC chief whip, Stone Sizani, was on his feet, rising on a point of order. 

When Mbete, who was instructing EFF MPs to sit, allowed Sizani to speak, a number of EFF MPs including their leader Julius Malema, who has been away from Parliament since April, questioned what they called “special treatment” of Sizani. 

Sizani and Malema got involved in a two-minute heated verbal exchange across the floor, after which Mbete suspended the sitting so that the party whips could have a meeting to chart a way forward. 

At some point, Malema assumed Mbete’s position “recognising” Ndlozi and instructing him to speak. 

The house was adjourned at 2.10pm and had not resumed by 3pm.

Read more on:    eff  |  jacob zuma  |  parliament  |  nkandla upgrade

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