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Rowdy start to #SONA2017

By Tmg Digital | 2017-02-09 19:52:39.0

President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address got off to a rowdy start on Thursday evening with the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Floyd Shivambu claiming that 21 members of the South African Police Service had joined the parliamentary security contingent.

EFF leader Julius Malema then called on the Speaker Baleka Mbete to assure Parliament that members were safe.

Mbete dismissed the EFF’s objection‚ saying Parliament could not work on the basis of hearsay or supposition.

This was followed by the Democratic Alliance’s John Steenhuisen calling for a moment of silence for the 94 psychiatric patients who died after being transferred from Esidimeni facilities to unlicenced NGOs‚ which he described as the country’s biggest tragedy after the Marikana massacre.

Despite the request being denied‚ DA members stood in silence for 30 seconds as a mark of respect for the victims.

Then‚ just minutes into his speech‚ Zuma was forced to sit down owing to further disruptions from the EFF.

Earlier as ANC members chanted “ANC‚ ANC”‚ EFF members responded with chants of ‘tsotsi’ and ‘Khwezi’.

Zuma’s state of nation address delayed by opposition

It was opposition MPs and not President Jacob Zuma who kicked proceedings off at the official opening of Parliament on Thursday evening‚ raising various points of order.

Zuma was due to deliver his State of the Nation address at 7pm but he was held up by members of the EFF and DA‚ who raised security concerns and other requests.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu was first to raise a point of order‚ claiming that 21 members of the South African Police Service were on standby in the house to arrest the party's members‚ using cable ties and biological weapons.

When Parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete responded‚ saying that she could not act on rumours‚ party leader Julius Malema entered the fray.

"Please reassure us that we are safe in this parliament‚" he said.

Malema said that Mbete had a duty to uphold the Constitution and that the cable tie in his possession had been taken from security personnel in Parliament.

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen was also quick to raise a point of order‚ requesting a moment of silence for the 94 mentally disabled patients that died in Gauteng when they were moved from Life Esidimeni.

Mbete said the request would be entertained next week at the State of the Nation address debate.

As Zuma began delivering his speech‚ he was interrupted by the EFF's Godrich Gardee.

Gardee raised a point of order‚ saying the president is not fit to address the house because of “the failure by the NA to hold the president accountable" over Nkandla is inconsistent with the Constitution.

"The president is in breach of his oath of office…He cannot address honourable members including the presiding officers. Parliament is in contempt of the Constitutional Court."

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said the following referring to Zuma: "In English‚ he is called a scoundrel. In our language‚ he's called a menne-menne. We have not broken our oath of office‚ now you want to make us complicit even though we did not break our oath of office."

The EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was then ordered out of the chamber for calling Zuma a “constitutional delinquent”.
Ndlozi said there were people in the house he did not recognise.

“This is my house. They must leave. Do you know them? You look shocked even. Who are they? They must leave. That is the first point of order‚" he told Mbete.

He then addressed her on Zuma: “If you want to listen to a person who has broken the Constitution‚ go and do it elsewhere.”

Speaking to the president he said: “Mr Zuma‚ please leave‚ baba.”

Willie Madisha of the Congress of the People Party was then removed from the house by Parliamentary security services.