President accused of driving state capture
Maimane’s ‘President Gupta’ incurs wrath of the Speaker
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.