ANC, EFF embarrassed Parliament – DA
The ANC and the EFF turned Parliament into a national embarrassment on Thursday, the DA said.
“At a time when South Africa is in crisis, the constitutional role of Parliament has been severely undermined today, and the real issues that matter to South Africans have been forgotten,” DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
“While Parliament has been turned into a circus this evening, tomorrow the nation’s electricity crisis remains, unemployment remains, and crime continues to plague our communities.”
The DA walked out of the National Assembly before President Jacob Zuma could carry on with his state-of-the-nation address following disruptions by the EFF.
The official opposition wanted presiding officers to confirm whether police were used to remove the Economic Freedom Fighters from the House but its questions were not answered.
“By calling armed South African Police Service officers into the chamber to remove MP’s, the Speaker [Baleka Mbete] has violated the constitutional principle of separation of powers,” Maimane said.
“There is an important difference between the police and parliamentary security — one reports to the executive and the other to parliament.”
He said Parliament’s work could not be suppressed by security forces and police were not allowed to interfere with the work of political parties.
Mbete tried to get EFF members to sit down but they insisted that Zuma answer their questions about security upgrades to his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
Maimane said the EFF was wrong not to abide by Mbete’s ruling however armed police should not have been called.
“The parliamentary security should have removed them.
“But calling in armed police was a violation of the constitution that the DA cannot tolerate,” he said.
Thursday’s sitting was “nothing short of a disaster, and an insult to South Africans”.
Zuma’s speech ‘uninspiring’ – ACDP
President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address was “very uninspiring”, the ACDP said on Thursday.
“I almost fell asleep for the first time. I had to go out to get fresh air,” said African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe.
Asked what his impression of the speech was, he replied: “Very uninspiring.”
He said the president needed to give South Africans hope, but he failed to do that.
An example was Eskom’s woes and scheduled black-outs.
“Load shedding — we wanted details, because the president is aware of what the people are concerned about,” said Meshoe.
Parly integrity was compromised – NFP
National Freedom Party secretary general Nhlanhla Khubisa apologised to South Africans for what happened in the National Assembly during the state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.
“We apologise to the citizens of South Africa for what happened in the House. The integrity of the House was compromised,” he said.
The NFP was one of the opposition parties which stayed in the House after the Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance left.
Speaking on President Jacob Zuma’s address, Khubisa said he believed the president did not put enough emphasis on job creation.
“[He should have] dedicated more time on how an environment would be created for our country to create jobs and investor confidence.”
On Eskom, Khubisa said parastatals and state enterprises were not doing enough.
He also believed that Zuma had not dedicated enough time to the issue of education and corruption.
“Corruption was not dealt with quite profusely.”
Zuma abided to government – ANC
President Jacob Zuma abided “very well and precisely” to policy set out by the ANC and government, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said after the opening of parliament.
“The work that took place, if you follow our January 8 statement, to the lekgotla, all that is covered very well and precisely in the state-of-the-nation address,” he said.
Mantashe was pleased that Zuma gave details on how government would deal with the energy crisis as well as with land issues.
He condemned the disruptions which forced proceedings to a halt when Economic Freedom Fighter MPs demanded that Zuma pay back the money for the security upgrades on his Nkandla residence.
“We have been watching the race to the bottom by opposition parties where they are actually outdoing each other… Anarchy will never [build] a nation,” he said.
He also called them “hooligans”.
However, he said he was pleased with the “firm” way in which the rules were applied to handle the situation.
Speaker Baleka Mbete asked security officers to escort EFF MPs out of the chamber.
Parly disruptions a ‘circus’ – AfriForum
Afriforum on Thursday described the disruptions in parliament to President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address as a circus.
“Parliament has degenerated into a circus with a few hundred clowns each earning a salary of a million rand of taxpayers’ money per annum, contributing nothing to the improvement of the lives of ordinary people,” said CEO Kallie Kriel in a statement.
“Under the lack of leadership of Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema, South Africa has become the laughing stock of the international community,” he said.
Chaos erupted in parliament after Economic Freedom Fighter MPs demanded to know when Zuma would pay back the money used for security upgrades on his Nkandla residence.
Speaker Baleka Mbete eventually resorted to asking security officers to escort the MPs out of the chamber.