Ramaphosa’s Sona delayed as EFF removed by force, ATM’s Zungula ordered out of House
EFF spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said Ramaphosa had failed to keep his promises.
EFF in parliament. Picture: EFF/Twitter
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have made good on their promise to disrupt President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday, saying it will not be addressed by a “constitutional delinquent”.
“February in Parliament, when Cyril starts, we start. That’s how it’s going to roll. When he starts speaking, we also start. We will not be addressed by someone who doesn’t respect the constitution,” EFF leader Julius Malema said during the party’s media briefing this year.
They made good on this promise, and it required the intervention of Parliament’s protection services, as well as the president’s own protection team to remove them from the chamber, after some members of the EFF tried to storm the stage where the president was delivering his speech.
Phala Phala matter ‘not resolved’
As the president took to the podium, Malema stood on a point of order and asked National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to ask the president to sit down.
He asked Mapisa-Nqakula to close the meeting because Ramaphosa had taken Parliament to court. The president is challenging the report against him by Parliament’s Section 89 panel on Phala Phala.
“We have a matter with him before court. So, let’s wait for the court to rule on that matter and then we can proceed with the meeting,” argued Malema.
“There’s nothing stopping the president from addressing Parliament,” responded Mapisa-Nqakula.
Mapisa-Nqakula also asked ATM president Vuyo Zungula to leave the House after he joined in the EFF’s points of order.
After refusing to leave, the speaker asked for the Parliament’s security services to remove him.
“Honourable Zungula quoted the wrong rule,” she said.
She further clarified that she had asked him to leave the House because he had defied her instructions to sit down, and not because he had quoted the wrong rule.
The EFF intensified its calls for Ramaphosa to step down late last year following the publication of the Section 89 panel’s report, which found that the president may have a case to answer on the theft at his Phala Phala farm in Limpopo in February 2020.
“The findings are tantamount to a betrayal of South Africa by a man who has been entrusted with upholding, defending and advancing this country’s laws,” said the EFF at the time.
Before Sona, the EFF met and again resolved to disrupt his speech.
“Our people must see that the only way out of this permanent suffering is the removal of the ANC government, and it begins with removing Cyril Ramaphosa as a matter of urgency,” said the party.
We gave Ramaphosa a chance
In an interview with Newzroom Afrika earlier in the day, EFF spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said Ramaphosa had failed to keep his promises.
“In the first State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa, he was not disrupted. In fact, the commander in chief and leader of the EFF said he must be given an opportunity as long as he doesn’t allow himself to be controlled by external stakeholders, patronised by factions who try and dictate to him in terms of what he must do in order to enrich themselves. He has failed to do that. He allowed factions to stop him from resigning because they have interest in him. So we’ve given him an opportunity and now we’re disrupting him,” he said.
Disruptions are ‘effective’
Sinawo said he believed the party’s disruptions were “effective”, as most South Africans did not have access to the president.
“We think it is effective because we have more than 1 800 000 voters who have vested their trust in us to ensure accountability in Parliament. Our people are fed up, they’re living in darkness, poverty, the cost of living is increasing on a daily basis, they can’t afford to live in South Africa anymore.
“You’d actually be surprised how many people expect us to confront him, they can’t get access to him and we can. We are the representatives who are going to make him feel the emotions our people are feeling on the streets.”