EFF MPs chant '#ZuptaMustFall' as they are ordered out of #SONA2016
EFF leader Julius Malema led his party's MPs in chants of "Zupta must fall" as they walked out of Parliament on Thursday night‚ after an hour of disruptions to President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address.
The EFF MPs‚ who had risen on points of order and been repeatedly shut down by the speakers of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces‚ Baleka Mbete and Thandi Modise‚ eventually left on their own accord after being threatened with eviction.
The group stood chanting "Zupta must Fall" before leaving the house peacefully‚ continuing their chant.
When several members were asked to leave the chamber for disrupting proceedings‚ EFF leader Julius Malema jumped up and stated: “You are our of order because you cannot expel people for speaking in this house. We are not going to allow that. This is so undemocratic. They listened to you and they went to sit down. Now you have just called them from nowhere. It's incorrect. It's unacceptable.
“You are prepared to remove the whole party which has been elected by the people in defence of one man. Zuma is no longer a president that deserves respect from anyone. He has stolen from us. He has collapsed the economy of South Africa. He has made this country a joke and after that he has laughed at us.
“We cannot allow Zupta to do as he pleases in this country. We are not going to allow that. We are doing what we are doing because we don't recognise [Zuma] as our president. He is not our president.”
Malema said outside the chamber that he refused to accord respect accorded to a president that did not “respect the oath of office” and constitution.
“This man who’s speaking here is the same man who said he has breached the oath of office and conceded in the constitutional court that he deliberately did not implement remedial actions of the public protector‚” he said.
Malema said the party would now wait for the Constitutional Court to take a decision before it urged impeachment proceedings.
“The court is done‚ the man has admitted‚ what more do you want? The man has said he will pay. Remedial actions are binding. He’s done‚” said Malema.
Earlier in proceedings‚ EFF MP Godrich Gardee told Zuma: "Sit down Mr Zupta".
The Zupta phrase was coined when Malema’s red berets accused the president of being too closely allied to the wealthy Gupta family.
The EFF exit came after Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota‚ a former Robben Island prisoner who had earned respect as leader of the United Democratic Front during the 1980s‚ was ordered out of Parliament.
Lekota rose on a point of order soon after Zuma had begun to speak.
Lekota said he refused to listen to Zuma because he had broken his oath of office over Nkandla‚ as evidenced by the Constitutional Court hearing.
"He is no longer honourable‚" Lekota said of Zuma.
“We cannot listen to someone like this‚” he said.
The EFF had stalled the start of proceedings by about half an hour with a series of points of order and questions.
But speaker of the National Assembly‚ Baleka Mbete was having none of it‚ declaring at various points "I am not recognising you" and "I am not wanting to listen to you."
However‚ she was called on by the DA's chief whip John Steenhuisen to apply the rules equally‚ accusing her of making up rules.
"If you expect us to abide by the rules‚ then you must too‚" he said.
After about 25 minutes of back and forth between the speaker and the party‚ Zuma started his speech. But he had barely made it through the welcome notes‚ when Lekota rose and made the statement that got him ordered out of the chamber by Mbete when he refused to sit down.
He‚ together with the other two COPE MPs in Parliament‚ left the house. As he left‚ he was congratulated by EFF members‚ who had looked surprised at his outburst.