Walkout over Zuma

2019-06-30 12:49
Former president Jacob Zuma arrives at the official opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

Former president Jacob Zuma arrives at the official opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature. (Ian Carbutt)

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Former president Jacob Zuma, whose presence in Parliament during his days as president sparked protests, on Friday relived the bad memories when KZN MPLs staged a walkout over his attendance of the provincial House’s sitting.

DA and EFF Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) who were attending Premier Sihle Zikalala’s State of the Province Address (Sopa) said parliamentary rules were not followed when Zuma was invited.

“The rules are straightforward — whips of political parties represented in the provincial legislature should be consulted before guests could be invited into the chamber.

“The bottom line is that we were never consulted before Zuma was brought into the chamber,” EFF provincial caucus leader Vusi Khoza said.

Zikalala was about to take to the podium when EFF and DA MPLs pointed out to the provincial legislature speaker, Nontembeko Boyce, that processes were not followed when Zuma was invited.

Boyce insisted that the matter of Zuma and other guests being allowed to sit in the chamber had been dealt with in previous legislature forums.

When the DA and EFF MPLs demanded that Zikalala’s Sopa should be briefly put on hold to allow whips to be consulted on the matter, Boyce refused.

“The business of the day has to continue … If you want you want to go outside and consult; you are free to do so,” she said.

Insisting that Zuma’s invitation was above board, Boyce went to the extent of defying the most senior ANC MPL, Super Zuma — who is the provincial legislature’s chief whip.

During the chaos in the House, Super Zuma had suggested that the Sopa proceedings be adjourned for a few minutes to allow the whips from political parties to be consulted on the matter.

“With all due respect, the business of the day should be allowed to continue,” she said, before inviting Zikalala to the podium.

Khoza said the fact that Boyce went to the extent of defying Zuma was proof of the extent to which the ANC was divided.

“What we are seeing here are ANC divisions playing themselves out,” he said.

Since being recalled by the ANC early last year, the former president has been a regular guest at the provincial legislature’s events. Zuma, who has never attended any of his successor President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State Of the Nation Addresses (Sonas), has been a source of heated debates in the provincial legislature in the past.

In February, DA provincial chief whip Francois Rodgers came under attack from ANC MPLs after he refused to shake Zuma’s hand during former premier Willies Mchunu’s Sopa at the Royal Showgrounds.

Last year, SA Communist Party (SACP) provincial secretary Themba Mthembu, who at the time was Agriculture MEC, came under attack from his own party’s national leadership after he had invited Zuma to the department’s budget vote.

DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango, who in the past has complained about Zuma’s attendance of provincial legislature events, accused Boyce of attempting to force opposition MPLs to “break rules”.

“As the DA we objected to Zuma’s sitting in the chamber before. We don’t have a problem with Zuma sitting in the gallery but we have a big problem when he is allowed to sit in the chamber.

“We walked out because we don’t want to be part of those political parties who have no respect of the law,” he said.

During his time as the country’s president, DA and EFF MPs in the National Assembly staged countless walkouts when Zuma was in Parliament.

While the DA and EFF MPLs walked out over Zuma’s attendance of Zikalala’s Sopa, the IFP — which is now the province’s official opposition — saw nothing wrong with Zuma’s attendance.

“There is one thing that brought all of us here this morning — it’s the State of the Province Address. Can we allow the premier to go ahead and address us?” IFP chief whip Blessed Gwala said.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  jacob zuma

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