The EFF’s objection to Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s inclusion in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet resulted in an almost two-hour delay in the delivering of the president’s fourth state of the nation address.
The EFF on Thursday evening made good on their promise to bring a halt to the state of the nation address as they called for Gordhan to be given the boot.
The party also opposed the presence of FW de Klerk who was the last president of apartheid South Africa before becoming deputy president of democratic South Africa in 1994.
EFF leader Julius Malema led the charge, saying that his party would not subject itself to the presence of a man who he called a murderer and apartheid apologist.
A number of EFF MPs joined Malema in a series of points of order which National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise labelled as “spurious”.
Losing the battle on De Klerk, who Modise argued was legitimately present, the EFF turned their attention to Gordhan saying that he has failed SOEs, giving particular attention to Eskom – which has been suffering rolling blackouts in recent weeks – as well SAA which has been placed under business rescue.
Weary of the impasse, Modise called for a brief adjournment of the joint sitting.
Outside the house ANC MP Zizi Kodwa addressed the media saying that he had been appointed by “government” to speak during the anticipated “disruption”.
“This disruption was declared a few weeks ago, we knew about it and we knew what the plan was about. Firstly the plan was to disrupt using the name of Pravin Gordhan as a scapegoat because some of the issues are about him being at the forefront of the fight against corruption, malfeasance and state capture. So we know where the attack on him comes from; it can only come from those who have something to hide in terms of corruption and malfeasance.
“He is here tonight and he is going nowhere. Mr De Klerk, the former president and former deputy president of the republic, is here tonight and he is going nowhere. But we knew about this drama inside here, it was planned,” Kodwa said.
He insisted that he was not speaking on behalf of the ANC or on his capacity as deputy minister of state security.
After leaving the house along with all EFF MPs, Malema told the media: “We can’t sit under the same roof as Pravin Gordhan or De Klerk. Cyril Ramaphosa must know that this will be our relationship with him going forward.”
He said that Gordhan had become “untouchable”, alleging that he achieved this status after being a key fundraiser for Ramaphosa’s bid for the ANC presidency in 2017.
On the EFF’s support of Gordhan during the Zuma administration, Malema said they did so out of “principle.”
He said that at the time Gordhan was not presiding over failing state-owned enterprises.