Punches were thrown in Parliament on Tuesday as Parliament protection services were called on to escort Economic Freedom Fighters MPs out of the house.
The MPs and protection officers exchanged blows as the officers tried to remove the politicians from their opposition benches.
Within minutes of proceedings getting underway‚ all decorum was thrown out of the window as the EFF went to war with speaker Baleka Mbete.
The EFF was adamant that Zuma‚ whom they describe as an “illegitimate president”‚ should not be allowed to address the chamber. Zuma smiled at the spectacle.
“We are asking you not to allow the president to speak here‚” said EFF leader Julius Malema‚ who insisted the president needed to be “rehabilitated”.
Mbete replied that she would not allow Malema to make any more speeches.
A cacophony of heckling‚ shouting and screaming filled the chamber. “Zuma is the one who must go‚” “you can do anything you want to do … you can kill us‚ we are not scared of anything … We won’t keep quiet‚” said EFF members. “Sergeant at arms tell Zuma to go. Sergeant at arms tell Zuma to go‚” shouted somebody from the benches.
Parliamentary protection services members were pelted with objects as they gathered around the EFF members‚ who broke into song‚ and grabbed hold of them.
Some of the protesters were physically dragged out of the National Assembly.
Malema vowed outside of the National Assembly that there would be no “business as usual” in parliament until Zuma resigned. “Every time he comes here‚ the same thing will happen‚” he said.
Asked about the damage caused to the image of parliament‚ he said “we will do everything in our power to defend the Constitution”.
President Zuma has two clouds hanging over his head. He is awaiting a decision by the National Prosecuting Authority on whether or not to reinstate charges of fraud‚ racketeering and corruption.
The North Gauteng High Court set aside a 2009 decision by former acting national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe – based on the contents of the so-called “spy tapes” – to withdraw the charges. He is also awaiting a decision by the Treasury on how much he should pay for the controversial upgrades to Nkandla‚ his home in KwaZulu-Natal.
Source: Times Live