But prior to the occurrence, speaker Baleka Mbete managed to once again avoid the EFF’s question to Zuma on when he was going to pay back the money used for upgrades to his Nkandla residence.
“We can’t just go round and round listening to the views of one group,” Mbete said.
“Really the issue has been more than adequately covered and clarified.”
Zuma, then allowed to proceed with his prepared speech, offered Parliament insight into government’s plans to help quell the volatile situation, including strengthening border control.
In condemning the violence, he also pointed to the positive effects foreigners had on the South African economy.
But it was not long before Julius Malema rose to convey to Zuma that it was the State who set the example of societal violence.
It was through the State that the people were taught that resolution to differences should be through violence, a yelling Malema said.
Taking advantage of a court ruling allowing it to be said in Parliament that the ANC had killed people in Marikana, Malema said: “When people had problems in Marikana…you killed them…When Tatane protested, you killed him… When the DA marched to Luthuli House, you responded by violence.
He further accused Zuma of not keeping his family in check, following his son Edward’s remarks that foreigners must go.
“Mr President you taught our people that everything should be resolved through violence. You must take full responsibility.”
DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said the real enemy was the culture of corruption.
“A culture that reserves opportunites for the elite and excludes everybody else. If we work together to root out this culture, we stand a chance of ending xenophobia and restoring humanity in our society.”
He asked politicians not to turn xenophobia into a “political football”.
“We must not shy away from the root causes of the problem either. The root of this problem lies in our inability to bring about economic growth and decrease the inequality that plagues our nation. Unemployment currently stands at 36.1%. Two out of every three unemployed people are young people. Many of these young people come from communities that were disadvantaged under Apartheid and grew up without access to quality education.
“In every community I visit I meet with young men and women who share the same story of economic exclusion. It is the hopelessness that results from unemployment that drives drug use and criminality in these communities, and underlies xenophobic attacks. But while these factors may help to explain the situation, they cannot be used as an excuse for resorting to violence and criminality. There can be no justification for human beings inflicting pain and suffering on other human beings.”
Instead of acknowledging these socio-economic root causes of the tension in our communities, there are people in powerful positions attempting to shift the blame and even condone criminality and xenophobia.
Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota called government “a very expensive bunch of amateur firefighters trying to douse a multitude of flames.
“We are also critical of those who carelessly or overtly fan the flames of hatred by word or deed. Let us act decisively and purposefully to end Afrophobia and xenophobia. Most importantly, let us make good the promise of Nelson Mandela to us, to Africa, and to the world.
“Now, more than ever, we desperately and urgently need inspired and visionary leadership.”
The United Nations (UN) is meanwhile expected to put out a statement regarding the attacks, reported the SABC.
Malawian President Peter Mutharika is also expected to cut his UN trip short in the United State’s to visit President Jacob Zuma over the violence, it further reported.