The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) punched their way out of Parliament yesterday as they were dragged out by security.
The entire EFF caucus, led by Floyd Shivambu, was thrown out of the National Assembly after objecting to President Jacob Zuma addressing parly because “he has broken his oath of office”.
After a shouting match between the EFF and Speaker Baleka Mbete, she got gatvol and called in the security officers to remove the MPs in their red overalls.
But some of them resisted and fought back, and some could be heard shouting “Zuma should be the one to go!” as they were being dragged out.
Outside parly, Shivambu repeated the party’s arguments against Zuma: “We can’t be addressed by someone who faces corruption charges. It’s against the law to allow an illegitimate person to address us.”
Zuma was to present the Presidency’s budget vote. It was his first appearance in Parliament since two significant court rulings against him.
The North Gauteng High Court last week found that the National Prosecuting Authority was wrong to drop more than 700 fraud and corruption charges against him in 2009.
And the Constitutional Court found recently that he failed to uphold, respect and defend the Constitution over the Nkandla spending scandal.
After the EFF left, Zuma stepped up to the podium and continued to deliver his budget vote.
He spoke about the strides government has made in successfully dealing with youth unemployment and the energy crisis, among other things.
Zuma says: “Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of Eskom, Mr Brian Molefe, announced that in five years’ time South Africa will have surplus electricity.”
But the National Assembly descended in chaos again when Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane called JZ “looter-in-chief” and “accused number one”.
He said: “It is because Jacob Zuma is the biggest beneficiary of the R70 billion arms deal, and stands accused on 783 counts of corruption, fraud , money laundering and racketeering.”
But he was forced to withdraw after Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli told him it was unparliamentary to call the president a criminal.
Tsenoli said: “Honourable Maimane, you cannot call somebody a criminal who has not been convicted.”
The EFF MPs have vowed to lay criminal charges against Parliament and Mbete for throwing them out of the House.