National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete adjourned proceedings in Parliament late on Thursday, after an eventful afternoon during which Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs disrupted business in the house.
Members of Parliament started re-entering the National Assembly around 4pm on Thursday, after proceedings came to a sudden end earlier when the EFF MPs refused to leave after being repeatedly instructed to do so by Mbete.
The EFF members stood their ground and refused to leave, chanting and singing in their benches long after being ordered to leave.
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 chamber. The doors to the chamber had been locked on those inside, including journalists.
‘Pay back the money’
The EFF members earlier disrupted proceedings while President Jacob 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 chamber, EFF members remained, still chanting “pay back the money”, insisting they would not move. EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu shouted at Mbete: “You won’t remove us.” &ndash Sapa