Access blocked to Zuma’s NCOP address

Parliament has apologised for the blocked access to the NCOP chamber during President Jacob Zuma’s address.

“It has been brought to the attention of the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Ms Thandi Modise, that members of the media and parliamentary officials were prevented from entering the NCOP chamber today while President Jacob Zuma was delivering his annual address to the Council,” said parliament.

“Parliament apologises for this untoward hindering of access to its work. Today’s incident will be taken up with the appropriate authorities to prevent its recurrence.”

It said an official, who was not from Parliament’s protection services, blocked entry to the public gallery while Zuma was speaking, and was reportedly rude to journalists and officials.

Yesterday, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane called on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in the National Assembly to say when Zuma would appear before the House again to answer questions.

Ramaphosa told members Zuma had a “deep respect” for the National Assembly. He said the relationship between the executive and Parliament was enshrined in the Constitution, and should be rule-based.

“And it becomes very difficult when there is howling and screaming and shouting to have a reasonable relationship.”

Maimane said later in a statement Zuma was “hiding behind the excuse that Parliament is too hostile an environment for him”.

Yesterday, Parliament’s powers and privileges committee found 20 Economic Freedom Fighters MPs guilty of charges stemming from their heckling of President Jacob Zuma over his Nkandla homestead.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu and his colleague Mpho Ramakatsa were found guilty on seven charges each, and EFF leader Julius Malema and the party’s spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on four charges each.

The rest of the group, who chanted “pay back the money” at Zuma in the National Assembly on August 21, were found guilty of between one and six charges, committee chairperson Lemias Mashile told journalists at Parliament yesterday.

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