Jovial Zuma hits back at opposition

2017-06-01 16:12
ANC members stand as Jacob Zuma approaches the National Assembly's podium for his reply on the debate on the presidency's budget. The DA, EFF, Cope and UDM benches are empty. (Jan Gerber, News24)

ANC members stand as Jacob Zuma approaches the National Assembly's podium for his reply on the debate on the presidency's budget. The DA, EFF, Cope and UDM benches are empty. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma hit back at the opposition on Thursday during his reply to the debate on the Presidency's budget.

The Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, United Democratic Movement and the Congress of the People boycotted his address on Thursday. Their speakers had lashed out at Zuma on the previous day, with the allegations of state capture by the Guptas featuring prominently in their speeches, while the Nkandla debacle was also not forgotten.

After repeating that he would welcome a probe into state capture, because it would replace the rumours and allegations with facts, Zuma diverted from his prepared speech.

He said there were people who had been elected, but who did not show up in Parliament.

"They are here to say whatever they want, but they are not here to listen," Zuma complained.

"Even in the debate, they can't argue, they hurl insults. Oh, God," he said.

"We are drugged by our own propaganda, some people," Zuma said.

Later he made fun of the DA quoting OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

"Where are the Verwoerds and others? Quote them." he said amid laughter from the ANC benches.

At the end of his address, Zuma took up the issue again, saying Parliament should help itself.

"Our behaviour in Parliament has been taken to the extreme," he said.

"I saw people here hitting people with helmets. Why do you allow people to come to Parliament with helmets?" he asked, probably referring to the EFF's alleged use of their helmets against the parliamentary bouncers, when they were forcibly removed during this year's State of the Nation Address.

'I love it (RET), like I love the Bible'

Earlier, Zuma extolled the virtues of radical economic transformation (RET).

"I love it (RET), like I love the Bible. I talk about it all the time, like a pastor talks to the Bible all the time every Sunday," he said, followed by a characteristic chuckle.

He said RET - which he once called "robust economic transformation" - was needed to correct the skewed South African economy.

He said the structure of the South African economy was racially based, and excluded the majority, who were Africans.

"If structures are still based on a system that is wrong, you can't sit back and not correct it," he said.

"The control of the economy is in the favour of the minority," he said, adding that there would be no point to freedom if this wasn't changed.

After about an hour, Zuma was done, and Speaker Baleka Mbete called the next order for the day - the DA's debate on violence against women.

Zuma took his seat, and State Security Minister David Mahlobo came to crouch next to him and whisper in his ear. The two left the chamber shortly after the debate commenced.  

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  parliament  |  state capture

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