Zuma demands Speaker control Parliament

President Jacob Zuma. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

President Jacob Zuma. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

A day after he was humiliated by opposition protest in Parliament, President Jacob Zuma on Thursday said the legislature had become a national embarrassment and demanded the Speaker bring it to order.

“As a house I think you need to do more to bring this house to order,” he said by way of closing his reply to the Presidency’s budget vote debate.

“I go around Africa and people ask me very embarrassing questions of this parliament… I think it would be seriously important that you bring this house into some order.”

Zuma added that the message had been underscored by people who could not be in the National Assembly on Thursday, in a session chaired by Speaker Baleka Mbete.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has in the past gone on record as saying that parliamentary officials should do more to “protect” the president from an increasingly vociferous and hostile opposition.

This follows after EFF MPs attempted to prevent Zuma from speaking in Parliament on Wednesday and were thrown out of Parliament by protection services, during which a violent exchange took place and punches were thrown.

Thereafter, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane referred to Zuma as a “criminal” and a “thief”. After fierce opposition from ANC MPs and objection by the Speaker, Maimane withdrew his remarks.

The DA made good on a threat to boycott Thursday’s session after party leader Mmusi Maimane irked the ANC on Wednesday with a speech in the debate in which he repeatedly branded the president a thief.

The Economic Freedom Fighters were serving an automatic suspension from Parliament after they were thrown out of the National Assembly on Wednesday for trying to prevent Zuma from speaking.

Zuma began his reply on Thursday by stating that South Africa was a unique country and that the shadow cast by apartheid was receding gradually.

“Despair has been replaced by hope, deprivation by opportunity,” he said. – African News Agency (ANA)


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