Parliament should take stern action against members of the Economic Freedom Fighters who disrupted President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday night.
“Such behaviour and conduct cannot and must not be tolerated and we urge Parliament to apply the rules and take stern action against those members,” Radebe said at a media briefing held shortly after Zuma ended his speech.
“The government of the Republic of South Africa is deeply disappointed and disgusted at the despicable conduct of some elected public representatives who are hell-bent on holding our democratic institutions, the electorate and our country at ransom.”
The National Assembly descended into chaos and violence when EFF MPs refused to leave the chamber when National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete order them to.
Mbete ordered the legislature’s protection officers to enter the chamber, adding “the security forces must come in in terms of the powers and privileges act”.
The security officers clashed with the EFF MPs who tried to stand their ground.
EFF leader Julius Malema was one of the last to be dragged out of the House after fist fights broke out between party members and the security officers.
Radebe said the actions of Malema and his MPs were aimed at rendering Parliament ungovernable.
“The events that unfolded before our eyes…were aimed at bringing our hard-earned democracy into serious disrepute,” he said.
“People of this great land died for this great democracy. Their actions… dishonour the lives of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.” SAPA