From the news desk

ANC rallies around Zuma during budget vote

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Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela brought a water gun to Parliament on Wednesday, to give as a gift to EFF leader Julius Malema.

This was a tongue-in-cheek dig at Malema’s threat to remove the government through the barrel of a gun.

Manamela said Malema he had never felt the pressure of real bullets like Zuma.

“If you want to be a commander-in-chief of armed forces, go and contest elections, win elections. Then we will know you are a real commander in chief.

 “If he can operate this [water gun], then we know he can actually overthrow the branch of ANC. Otherwise I don’t take his threats seriously.”

He said people who had never seen war would never threaten them.

“We are ready to defend the sovereignty of democracy.”

Opposition parties used President Jacob Zuma’s budget vote in Parliament to slam him for the Constitutional Court ruling, while the ruling party rallied around him.

It was the president’s first appearance in Parliament since the ConCourt ruled that he had failed to uphold the Constitution regarding upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

He faced a hostile reception from opposition parties including the EFF, who refused to let him speak. The EFF MPs were forcibly removed from the National Assembly when they refused to let Zuma take the podium, accusing him of having “broken the law”.

The party has vowed to lay charges against Parliament Protection Services.

DA MPs took their turn in throwing accusations at the president, calling him a thief and “accused number 1”.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane referred to the president as an “accused criminal” who always said “it wasn’t me”.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said that despite agreeing with the opposition he was not raised to say things like “Zuma must voetsek”.

Service delivery

The ANC, however, told the good story of the ANC, with a special focus on service delivery.

MP after MP praised the president for the work he has done.

Minister Jeff Radebe said the ANC-led government had been hard at work since 1994.

ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu praised the president for his forgiving nature.

“It is true to the nature and revolutionary moral conscience of Comrade President that he is neither vindictive nor does he hold grudges against those who did and continue to wrong him.”

Mthembu said it was this humility that defined who Zuma was.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told a story of “enriched lives” through government programmes.

Minister of Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, said the ANC was grooming women leaders.

“We do not create Barbie dolls.”

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen slammed the ruling party MPs for coming to the support of Zuma.

“You know President Mbeki was right to sack this man, but you don’t have the guts. That’s why you look so dejected, like you have lost the elections already,” he said.

The last speaker, Deputy Minister Buti Manamela, said the DA was not bringing any substantive arguments, accusing it of mimicking what the EFF did. He said there was a need for better opposition.

He also said there was no truth to the alleged acquisition of a R4bn plane for Zuma, something which the DA had eluded to earlier.

[Source: News24]
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