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Sun Oct 23 05:12:53 SAST 2016

Zuma says disruptive opposition showed 'how useless they are'

AFP | 12 February, 2016 11:07
Members of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party leave the parliamentary chamber as South Africa's President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address in Cape Town.
Image by: POOL / REUTERS

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma on Friday mocked the opposition, dismissing it as "useless" and ignorant after rowdy radical lawmakers disrupted his parliamentary address and walked out.

Watch the moment EFF walked out of #SONA2016

"They are showing how useless they are, people will never vote for them," Zuma said a day after seeing his annual state of the nation address interrupted.

"They don't understand democracy, how it works."

"They just move with the wind when it goes this way, that way, shame on them," said Zuma.

Lawmakers from the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), dressed in their uniforms of red workers' overalls and hard hats, noisily interrupted his speech for an hour before being ordered out of the chamber on Thursday night.

"Zuma is no longer a president that deserves respect from anyone," EFF's firebrand leader Julius Malema yelled at the president.

But Zuma said if the opposition were true democrats, they should know better how to deal with the government when it errs.

"If the party or the president commits a mistake, there is a process how you deal with that," said Zuma in his first reaction to his heckling by EFF members of parliament.

"You are really not doing good for your country. You are making this country look bad out there, which means you don't think," he said after the speech was broadcast live on television.

He said the opposition's rowdy behaviour was actually working to his ruling African National Congress (ANC)'s advantage.

The "problem with other parties is (that) as soon as they open their mouths they talk about the ANC not about themselves."

"They are actually doing our job, they are not convincing people."

Watch the highlights from #SONA2016


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