Zuma must go to jail – Maimane after DA walkout

2017-11-02 18:45
DA leader Mmusi Maimane with a copy of the book The President's Keepers in the National Assembly where he questioned President Jacob Zuma on the allegations in the book. (Jan Gerber, News24)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane with a copy of the book The President's Keepers in the National Assembly where he questioned President Jacob Zuma on the allegations in the book. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town – Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says President Jacob Zuma must "go to jail" after accusing Zuma of lying to Parliament.

This after Maimane's party walked out of the National Assembly on Thursday when Zuma did not answer a question.

The DA had asked Zuma what the total legal costs were following the National Prosecuting Authority's "irrational decision" to drop fraud charges against him in 2009.

"He refused to answer, and he has captured Parliament," Maimane told News24 outside Poorthuis on the parliamentary precinct.

"So he must go to jail, he can't keep lying here and we must sit and entertain it when the Constitution has been violated."

During his initial reply, Zuma said the litigation referred to was not at the insistence of the president, but brought against him by the DA itself.

He said "the president has defended it, as he is entitled to do so, at state expense," and as per the provisions in the State Attorney Act.

It was a benefit extended to all those employed in service of the state.

'I am not going to answer'

Before Zuma could finish, Maimane rose and pointed out that Zuma had not answered the question.

"Deputy Speaker, the question says, 'how much?’ He has not answered," Maimane said.

ALSO READ: Zuma warns those who want state capture investigated

Zuma replied: "I am not going to answer. I am answering the questions. The answer gives the impression that I have been running to courts and giving lots of money.

"I have been defending what the political party (the DA) has done in taking me to court."

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen rose and said there was no reason Zuma could not answer the question, as he had received the question 16 days ago.

"How on earth can we hold the president accountable when he has shown such contempt for the question?"

Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli did not push Zuma to give another response to the question.

"Deputy Speaker, I'm not willing to move on, the president has not answered the question," said Maimane when pushed to ask a supplementary question by Tsenoli.

"It's not your job to protect the executive," added Steenhuisen.

"Let's not have a dialogue," replied Tsenoli.

'Showing the House the middle finger'

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude rose and said Zuma had answered the question and Tsenoli could not force him to give another answer.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh interjected, saying the question was simple and demanded an answer in rands. "We don't have an answer."

Steenhuisen said from his seat that Zuma and Tsenoli were showing the House the middle finger.

"You are out of order. I think you are showing the House the middle finder," Tsenoli hit back.

READ: 'Corruption done by who?' - Zuma

Maimane then said to a smiling Zuma: "This is completely unacceptable. You might be in government now, but you are going to jail."

The DA caucus then started chanting "Malini? (How much?)".

DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters tried to raise a point of order, but Tsenoli switched his mic off. "I'll go to another mic. I'll go to another mic.

"You are absolutely useless," a frustrated Waters charged.

ANC MP Bheki Radebe then accused Waters of undermining the deputy speaker.

'I'll take Mahlobo apart'

Eventually, an irate Maimane seemingly couldn't take it anymore.

"I refuse to sit here and listen to this," he said and walked out with other party members.

ANC MPs howled and whistled as the group left, motioning at the clapping DA MPs to leave.

After the DA's exit, Energy Minister David Mahlobo told a settled House that it should look at instituting disciplinary proceedings against the DA for its dogged insistence that Zuma be held personally accountable and answer the question posed.

Mahlobo accused the party of "undermining the authority" of the office of the Speaker and said it should be referred to the relevant authority.

"The conduct warrants an action," he said.

Singh rose and said the IFP would accept the referral, but also wanted it noted that Zuma did not answer the question despite having known about it for 16 days.

When asked outside Parliament about Mahlobo's motion, Maimane said the minister should "do whatever he likes".

"Bring it on. I hope he brings on a proper application, because I'll take him apart."

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  jacob zuma  |  parliament

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