News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
3 minute read
1 Sep 2017
5:01 am

The chorus of insults that follows Zuma around

Yadhana Jadoo

One MP suggested that the president be given a lie-detector test while responding to questions in parliament yesterday.

It was demonstrated last year when the Constitutional Court ruled that president Jacob Zuma failed to uphold the Constitution when he didn’t adhere to the Public Protector’s ruling. Picture: Gallo images

President Jacob Zuma again suffered an onslaught from opposition MPs in parliament yesterday as insults were hurled at him and he was referred to as “Duduzane’s father”.

Some MPs accused him of evading questions and others called for him to be disciplined.

The EFF demanded disciplinary proceedings be taken against the president, as the highest judicial authority, the Constitutional Court, had ruled that he had violated the constitution.

Disruption after disruption marred Zuma’s question-and-answer session as MPs demanded answers from him while he denied numerous allegations, including involvement in state capture, or that jobs had been given to his family on his instructions.

“I have never instructed or directed any state institution to give contracts to anyone whatsoever,” Zuma said.

“The issues raised by the leader of the opposition are similar to the issues that were investigated by the public protector in the report, State of Capture.

“I have stated on numerous occasions my intention to establish a commission of inquiry.

“I am pursuing this cause. I deem this to be in the public interest, in the course of good governance and accountability.”

But DA leader Mmusi Maimane pointed out that Zuma was opposing the inquiry in his court application against the party’s bid to force him to establish one.

The EFF again referred to Zuma as “Duduzane’s father” and were taken to task by Speaker Baleka Mbete for doing so.

Before EFF MPs walked out when an irritated Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli demanded they leave the chamber because of their disruptions, party leader Julius Malema heatedly demanded that Zuma be held accountable.

“You are defending a criminal of note!” Malema shouted. “We are here doing a job as requested by South Africans.

“You cannot defend a number one criminal. He must be held accountable!

“That’s what we are doing here … we didn’t come here for the salary alone.”

“We cannot have Duduzane’s father coming to speak after the Constitutional Court pronounced on him.”

Another MP quipped that Zuma be given a lie-detector test and another shouted “we can’t be addressed by a rapist”.

Maimane asked on what grounds Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe had been allowed to leave the country on diplomatic immunity after she allegedly assaulted a young South African woman, Gabriella Engels, with an extension cord after finding Engels with one of her sons in a hotel room.

“I am not a lawyer, I don’t know the points of law, how it was done,” Zuma said.

“I would be lying if I speculate. I am not going to give you an answer that is not there.”

The president also claimed government had made progress in reducing poverty.

This was despite a Statistics South Africa report that the number of those living in extreme poverty increased to about 14 million between 2011 and 2015.

Zuma said: “Everybody agrees that in South Africa the poor are better off than they were, generally.

“We are aware of the Statistics South Africa report, but no one can say we have not made progress. Poor people have agreed we have made progress.” –