South Africa-Politics-Opposition

S/Africa: Opposition disrupts Ramaphosa SONA speech

APA-Cape Town (South Africa)

South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) of Julius Malema disrupted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, delaying the start of its delivery for nearly two hours on Thursday.

For nearly two hours Malema and his EFF MPs demanded the removal of former apartheid era president FW de Klerk from the Parliament and the dismissal of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The EFF would never sit under the same roof as De Klerk and Gordhan, Malema told the press outside the House minutes after leading a walkout of his red overalls-clad members.

This was the first time in three years since the EFF last disrupted a State of the Nation Address in such a manner.

The main difference this time, however, was that Speaker Thandi Modise -- who was extremely patient with Malema and his friends -- did not unleash police bouncers on the MPs to forcefully eject them from the chamber as had been done three years ago.

Malema addressed the media after having led his members in song and dance on the steps of Parliament.

"We have raised our concerns with Parliament. The first concern we had was why Parliament invited de Klerk after he said that apartheid was not a crime against humanity," Malema said.

He added: “This after we thought that De Klerk had bought into the agenda of forgiveness and reconciliation. When he said what he said, we knew that he was an unrepentant apartheid apologist who doesn’t regret those murders committed under his leadership,” Malema said.

On Gordhan, Malema said: “We have said to the president: Fire Pravin, and fire him now. We can’t sit under the same roof with Pravin or de Klerk. Cyril Ramaphosa should know that this is going to be our relationship going forward.”

NM/jn/APA

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