CAPE TOWN — Following scenes of insults, chaos, and violence in Parliament on Thursday night, President Jacob Zuma has accused opposition parties of not being serious about the needs of the country.
Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters were forcibly removed from the National Assembly, after they demanded Zuma leave.
They clashed several times with Speaker Baleka Mbete, with EFF leader Julius Malema accusing the President of abusing MPs, an echo of Zuma’s complaint to Mbete last year that Parliamentarians were abusing him by not letting him speak.
The EFF says at least three of their members were injured while Parliament’s protection services removed them.
The Democratic Alliance and other opposition parties staged a walk-out instead of listening to the President’s speech, claiming that two unidentified men in uniforms, were members of the South African National Defence Force.
Members of the public gallery also fell victim to the illegal use of pepper spray, apparently dispersed by an unknown member of the public.
A powdery substance, with effects similar to teargas or pepper spray, was let off in Parliament’s public gallery.
Earlier, the party had requested a minute of silence for the 94 mentally-ill patients who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, but Speaker Baleka Mbete denied this request.
Listen to Power News journalist Tehillah Niselow’s summary of last night’s chaos: