Zuma presents budget reply to his ANC comrades

2016-05-05 17:15
President Jacob Zuma (File, screengrab)

President Jacob Zuma (File, screengrab)

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Cape Town – There was only cheering and applause, and no heckling, as President Jacob Zuma presented his budget vote reply to his ANC comrades in Parliament on Thursday.

The IFP was the only other party that attended the sitting, which all other opposition party MPs had decided to boycott.

In his reply, Zuma focused on drugs, schooling, violence in society, and the progress the country had made.

"Our people know that their country is a success story, because they can see the changes that have come into being since 1994."

The long shadow of apartheid was gradually receding, despair had been replaced by hope, deprivation by opportunity, and exclusion by inclusion, he said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said opposition parties had met and decided not to attend the sitting.

"We cannot in good conscience legitimise an empty speech of an utterly discredited and illegitimate president," he said earlier on Thursday.

During Wednesday’s debate in the National Assembly, the DA called Zuma a thief and a criminal who always claimed "it wasn’t me". 

EFF physically removed

Parliament’s protection services violently removed EFF MPs after they refused to let Zuma speak during Wednesday’s sitting.

EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu and party MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the National Assembly should not debate giving Zuma money, when he "was facing corruption charges".

A visibly irritated Speaker Baleka Mbete accused the party of abusing Parliament, and after more than 20 minutes of interruptions, called for Shivambu to leave.

When all EFF MPs stood up and started challenging her, she called them out one by one, and instructed the serjeant-at-arms to remove them.

Fists and water bottles flew as security officers physically carried some EFF MPs out. It took four men to carry Godrich Gardee out.

All the EFF MPs have been suspended for five working days.

On Thursday, Zuma pleaded with Mbete to do more to bring the House to order and said Parliament’s dignity was at stake.

The ANC called the opposition boycott a "laughable publicity stunt".

"The irony of the same parties fully participating in the Presidency budget vote session yesterday only to claim today that they do not associate with the same process is not lost on any of us," the party said in a statement following the sitting.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  jacob zuma  |  parliament 2016

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