Pres­i­dent ac­cused of driv­ing state cap­ture

Maimane’s ‘Pres­i­dent Gupta’ in­curs wrath of the Speaker

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma re­ceived a hos­tile re­cep­tion in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day, with in­sults di­rected at him across the benches of the House as op­po­si­tion par­ties ac­cused him of driv­ing state cap­ture.

Dur­ing the heated de­bate on the Pres­i­dency’s bud­get vote, mud­sling­ing, in­sults and per­sonal at­tacks dom­i­nated the ses­sion, forc­ing Speaker Baleka Mbete to in­ter­ject and to call on some of the MPs to with­draw what she termed un­par­lia­men­tary re­marks.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane irked the ANC when he spoke. ANC whip Bheki Hadebe ob­jected strongly to some of Maimane’s re­marks. It re­sulted in Mbete forc­ing him to with­draw what he said, de­spite protests from DA chief whip John Steen­huisen of un­fair treat­ment.

Maimane had called Zuma “Pres­i­dent Gupta”, fol­low­ing a string of emails im­pli­cat­ing him and the Gup­tas in state cap­ture. Af­ter heated ex­changes with Mbete, Maimane with­drew the re­mark.

Zuma opened the de­bate in Par­lia­ment, with the EFF, the party that has given him the most prob­lems in Par­lia­ment in the past, con­spic­u­ous by its ab­sence. It had de­cided to boy­cott Zuma.

It also boy­cotted Zuma’s speech last year.

Zuma once again made a com­mit­ment to es­tab­lish a com­mis­sion of in­quiry into state cap­ture af­ter court pro­cesses had been con­cluded.

“Let me place it on record that there is no op­po­si­tion from ei­ther the govern­ment or the Pres­i­dency to the calls for a com­mis­sion of in­quiry into the said state cap­ture,” he said.

“We fully sup­port an in­quiry, as it will help to un­cover the facts and dis­pel ru­mours about the ex­tent of cap­ture.”

He said he was not happy with the re­port of for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela. She had en­croached on his pow­ers to di­rect him to set up an in­quiry, he said.

Maimane did not hold back when it was his turn to speak. He ac­cused Zuma of sell­ing the coun­try to the Gup­tas.

He said Zuma had de­stroyed the ANC and he now wanted to take the coun­try down with him. But, he said, the DA would not al­low it.

Dur­ing the tail-end of Zuma’s speech, when he was speak­ing about re­gional mat­ters, DA MPs kept re­fer­ring to Dubai in the United Arab Emi­rates each time he men­tioned an­other coun­try.

This was in ref­er­ence to rev­e­la­tions in emails that he planned to go and live in Dubai.

Chair­per­son of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on hu­man set­tle­ments No­cawe Mafu ac­cused Maimane of hav­ing his speech writ­ten by “two ana­lysts”.

She also said the peo­ple of the coun­try were tired of the op­po­si­tion’s in­sults di­rected at Zuma each time he was in Par­lia­ment.

Mafu said the ANC did not have a prob­lem with par­ties who op­posed it. But they should not at­tack an in­di­vid­ual and rather stick to the ANC.

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