This afternoon’s question and answer session in parliament to be addressed by President Jacob Zuma got off to a tempestuous start when EFF MPs continuously referred to Zuma as “Duduzane’s father”. This prompted the speaker to plead with EFF members to withdraw the reference.
After several interjections and points of orders from EFF members, Baleka Mbete reminded the MPs that Rule 31, which deals with points of privilege, was abused by the EFF when they referred to Zuma by using a “private reference”. Duduzane Zuma, the president’s son, is involved in business ventures with the Guptas and is the subject of an NPA investigation.
EFF CIC Julius Malema rejected Mbete’s ruling, saying “You are out order; if you work for your family you will be called the ‘father of Duduzane’. You have a responsibility to be a father of the nation, but you chose otherwise.”
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, who recently received his PhD in politics from Wits University, rejected the ruling too, saying, “uBaba ka Duduzane must suspend himself first before appearing here. We reject that Eurocentric ruling that says we cannot refer to Zuma as uBaba ka Duduzane. Unless he rejects his son, in African culture that is respectful.”
An EFF MP conceded to Mbete’s other instruction after she referred to Zuma as a “rapist” who should not be given an opportunity to address parliament during Women’s Month. She was told to bring a substantive motion on the issue.
The majority party’s deputy chief whip and another ANC MP urged the speaker to remind members that “in terms of Rule 140, today’s sitting is about questions to the president which we agreed upon in the programming committee by all of us. Those disagreeing were not part of the meeting, so we cannot be held to ransom by people who do not recognise the president.”
Cope MP Deirdre Carter addressed the speaker no fewer than five times, claiming that the table staff had been manipulating the chamber technology, with the microphones of the opposition being irregularly muted, thereby only giving an opportunity for ANC MPs to pose questions.
Shaik Imam happened to have been the first speaker allowed to pose a supplementary question to Zuma’s first response, with the opposition benches arguing that this was to be expected because “his party is ANC, despite being this side”.
The debate continues.