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Sat May 28 22:34:50 SAST 2016

Recalling Zuma would have averted Sona chaos: Cope

TMG Digital | 12 February, 2016 08:11
“President Zuma has violated the constitution repeatedly and manipulated the justice system to protect himself against prosecution. The ANC has allowed him to do so to the total detriment of the nation. File photo
Image by: Supplied

The blame for the disruptions to the State of the Nation Address must be laid at the feet of President Jacob Zuma‚ the Congress of the People (Cope) said.

Watch the highlights from #SONA2016

In statement to explain why its members walked out of Wednesday night’s speech‚ the party expressed its disappointment that Zuma didn’t step down from office.

“We had expected that he would use the opportunity to announce his resignation‚” Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota said.

Cope’s “members refused to dignify the State of the Nation Address” as they “could not in good conscience sit and listen to a discredited president‚” Lekota added.

“How could we respect a president who has no respect whatsoever for the house? We could not listen to him because he had misled the honourable house. We cannot give him respect that he does not deserve.”

The address “descended into utter chaos”‚ the leader opined‚ “because the president continued to break his oath of office and the African National Congress (ANC) caucus continued to condone his action unflinchingly.

“The president and the ANC pushed the envelope too far. Both are now reaping what they have sown.”

Lekota seemed incredulous that Zuma‚ who “for two years…defied the public protector and then backed down when the matter went to the Constitutional Court” can “continue to remain in office”.

This was a reference to the court action this week in which legal counsel for Zuma conceded that the public protector’s report on upgrades to his Nkandla homestead were binding.

“President Zuma has violated the constitution repeatedly and manipulated the justice system to protect himself against prosecution. The ANC has allowed him to do so to the total detriment of the nation.

“Had the ANC done the moral thing and recalled him‚ the State of the Nation Address would have proceeded with dignity and honour. All of us would have listened to the new president because he would have not have been tainted as President Zuma is.

“On principle‚ South Africans should stop affording him a halo. He is damaging South Africa. He speaks with a forked tongue.”

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