EFF sparks Sona chaos

A State of the Na­tion ad­dress was for the first time sus­pended last night when Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s at­tempt to de­liver his speech was con­ti­nously in­ter­rupted by mem­bers of the EFF.

The Citizen (KZN) - - Front Page - Amanda Wat­son and Bren­dan Seery [email protected]­ti­zen.co.za

Speaker Modise halts pro­ceed­ings af­ter more then an hour of dis­rup­tions.

Led by Julius Malema, a grand­stand­ing Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) par­lia­men­tary cau­cus turned last night’s State of the Na­tion ad­dress (Sona) by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa into a farce by forc­ing an un­prece­dented sus­pen­sion of par­lia­men­tary business be­fore Ramaphosa had ut­tered a word.

The de­ci­sion by Speaker Thandi Modise to ring the bell in the House of As­sem­bly to halt the ses­sion came af­ter a non­stop series of points of order and in­ter­jec­tions by the red-over­alled EFF MPs.

The EFF con­tin­gent was pre­pared for con­flict; as they en­tered par­lia­ment, they sang Sofa gi­jima (We are not shaken)”.

“If we per­ish then we per­ish,” the EFF tweeted be­fore head­ing to par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

Once in­side the house, the EFF, with their newly minted 44 seats, let rip with both bar­rels – an at­tack first on the pres­ence of for­mer pres­i­dent FW de Klerk, whom EFF leader Julius Malema la­belled a “mur­derer”, and then on Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han, whom the EFF said should be fired for plung­ing the coun­try into darkness through Eskom’s load shed­ding.

Malema said about De Klerk: “We have a man who has got blood on his hands in this house which is sup­posed to rep­re­sent the wills of our people.”

Other EFF MPs rose to make sim­i­lar ob­jec­tions to De Klerk hav­ing been in­vited, but they were ruled against by Modise.

“De­lay­ing the business of this house on the mat­ter of for­mer pres­i­dent De Klerk is not going to help us, so may I sug­gest I will not take any fur­ther points of order on this mat­ter,” Modise said.

Inkatha Free­dom Party (IFP) leader Man­go­suthu Buthelezi pro­posed that the mat­ter of De Klerk should be put to the vote, which was sec­onded by EFF deputy Floyd Shivambu.

Modise then dug her heels in and said she had made a rul­ing and there would be no vote.

“I made a rul­ing, that mat­ter is closed,” Modise said.

The EFF then turned on Gord­han, say­ing he should be fired by Ramaphosa.

For more than an hour, the chaos con­tin­ued, with Ramaphosa ris­ing on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions to be­gin his speech but then be­ing shouted down by the EFF.

Time and again, MPs from the ANC, Demo­cratic Al­liance and IFP rose to ask the speaker to pro­tect their con­sti­tu­tional rights as MPs, and the rights of other

South Africans, to lis­ten to the Pres­i­dent’s speech.

Buthelezi and the DA’s Natasha Maz­zone pointed out that the EFF were trans­gress­ing by in­ter­fer­ing with the right of the house to lis­ten the speech of the pres­i­dent.”

While most in the cham­ber ex­pected Modise to de­ploy the par­lia­men­tary se­cu­rity ser­vice to forcibly ob­ject the rowdy EFF group, Modise sud­denly and un­ex­pect­edly an­nounced the sus­pen­sion and MPs left the cham­ber.

Modise’s words summed up the pro­ceed­ings: “South Africa is not very proud of us tonight...”

Pic­ture: EPA-EFE

RAB­BLE-ROUSERS. Mem­bers of the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers on the red car­pet be­fore the an­nual State of the Na­tion ad­dress and open­ing of the na­tional par­lia­ment in Cape Town yes­ter­day.

Pic­ture: EPA-EFE

UN­DER FIRE. For­mer pres­i­dent FW de Klerk, sec­ond left, and his wife Elita, left, with Amos Ma­sondo, sec­ond right, Na­tional Council of Prov­inces chair­per­son, and Thandi Modise, Speaker of the Na­tional As­sem­bly of South Africa, in Cape Town yes­ter­day.

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