Friday, 13 February 2015

Drama as Malema removed from Parliament during Zuma speech

Security officers removed firebrand opposition leader Julius Malema from South Africa’s parliament during a speech by President Jacob Zuma.

Mr Malema and allies from his Economic Freedom Fighters party raised numerous points of order after Mr Zuma began his annual state of the nation speech.

The speaker of parliament then ordered that they be removed.
Opposition leader Julius Malema
The largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, walked out in protest at the removal of the MPs.

“You can’t send police into parliament,” said Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane.

Speaker Baleka Mbete did not clarify whether police or parliamentary security officers had ejected the EFF MPs.

The opposition said this was an important distinction, with one MP saying the use of police would be a way of intimidating the opposition.

Last year, the EFF disrupted another presidential speech, chanting: “Pay back the money”.

The party has shaken up South African politics with a series of populist proposals to redistribute wealth.

Its MPs accuse Mr Zuma of benefitting unduly from taxpayer-funded upgrades to his private residence in the village of Nkandla and they wanted Mr Zuma to answer questions about this before making his state of the nation speech.

Last year an independent inquiry found the president had “unduly benefited” from the expensive upgrades, which included a pool and a cattle enclosure and cost about $23m (£13.8m).

The president has denied any wrongdoing.

Despite criticism of the Nkandla upgrade and the country’s moribund economy, Mr Zuma’s African National Congress was overwhelmingly re-elected last year. BBC

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