National Assembly adjourns after EFF disruption (video)
Speaker Baleka Mbete adjourned Parliament for the day shortly after 4pm on Thursday, announcing that President Jacob Zuma would not complete presidential question time because of the protest by EFF MPs.
She added: “South Africa knows that the president was here to perform his constitutional duty and was not given an opportunity to finish off and therefore we would like at this point to adjourn.”
Proceedings came to a sudden end earlier when the Economic Freedom Fighters MPs refused to leave after Mbete repeatedly instructed them to do so.
The EFF members stood their ground and refused to leave the Assembly. Long after being ordered out they were still sitting in their benches chanting and singing.
Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele and his successor as state security minister David Mahlobo were in the Chamber and appeared to be negotiating with EFF leader Julius Malema and Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu.
Several police officers were standing around the House. The doors had been locked on those inside, including journalists.
The EFF members earlier disrupted proceedings while Zuma was answering questions. Mbete instructed Malema and his fellow MPs to leave the House because they were “not serious” about proceedings.
Malema was not happy with Zuma’s reply to a question about when he was going to pay back part of the money spent on the R246 million security upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
“I will throw you out of the House if you don’t listen,” Mbete shouted at EFF members, who responded by chanting “pay back the money”.
Mbete suspended proceedings and called security.
While Zuma and MPs from other political parties left the House, EFF members remained, still chanting “pay back the money”, and insisting they would not move.
EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu shouted at Mbete: “You won’t remove us”.