EFF prepared to 'raise issues' about 'illegitimate president' at SONA

MPs gather for the SONA 2017. (Adriaan Basson, News24)
MPs gather for the SONA 2017. (Adriaan Basson, News24)

Cape Town – The EFF is preparing to "raise their issues" with President Jacob Zuma at the State of the Nation Address next Thursday and vowed that it will not be business as usual for an "illegitimate president".

This, after Parliament's presiding officers on Thursday morning said there will be no special sitting to debate a motion of no confidence against Zuma before the SONA, as the EFF had requested.

READ: No special sitting for motion against Zuma before SONA – Mbete

The DA asked that SONA be postponed until Zuma is removed as state president, but the presiding officers also didn't accede to this request.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the subcommittee of Parliament's rules committee, which is working on rules to impeach a president, EFF MP and spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said what they were asking for – a motion of no confidence before Thursday – was not impossible. If this was not done, they would have to take the matter to the SONA.

"We are committed to making it very clear that Zuma is an abnormal president, is an illegitimate president, he does not deserve business as usual," said Ndlozi.

"Even if he may be empowered at the moment by the Constitution to convene the house, or the two houses of Parliament, we are not going to allow a situation where it is business as usual for a person who has violated the Constitution."

At the presiding officer's press briefing, Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said: "We take exception to threats of disruption."

Ndlozi said the EFF "won't act kindly to anybody who doesn’t act kindly to us".

"We are going there to make sure that we raise the truth and, if they meet the truth with force, so be it."

'Complete farce'

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, also on the sidelines of the rules subcommittee, expressed his party's disappointment with the presiding officers' decision.

"I think it will be a complete farce if next week we sit here and Jacob Zuma delivers the State of the Nation address," said Steenhuisen.

"That is precisely because we know and the nation knows and the ANC knows that he is on his way out and that they are trying to facilitate a way for Mr Ramaphosa to assume the presidency.

"So, I think it is wrong to subject the people of South Africa and MPs to a set of fairy tales read out by President Zuma that we know full well will not be implemented and cannot be implemented because his administration will be out of office."

Steenhuisen said, given the huge costs involved with the SONA, he thinks it will be a complete waste of money "for us to go to this expense for us to listen to Jacob Zuma". According to speaker Baleka Mbete, R4.3m has been budgeted for this year's edition.

"The country needs to start moving forward into the post-Zuma era and I think it will be a complete gift for the opposition as well if Mr Zuma takes the podium next week because we'll be able to say very clearly, 'Well here we go, not much has changed it's exactly the same going on, you got Zuma here instead of Ramaphosa'," said Steenhuisen.

"I think it is just making a complete farce of what SONA is supposed to be about."

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