SONA disruptions ‘not a reflection of the national character’: Zuma

Picture Credit: Twitter @PresidencyZA

President Jacob Zuma on Friday said the disruptions and violence which took place at Thursday evenings State of The Nation Address are not a reflection of the national character.

“…It is a reflection of only a few people, some parties in Parliament which only represent 6% of people in the nation. It’s not an overwhelming figure,” said Zuma.

The President was speaking during The New Age business briefing in Cape Town, post SONA.

Zuma’s speech on Thursday was divided by 90 minutes with a repeat of chaotic scenes which have characterised the SONA in recent years.

Seemingly referring to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Zuma accused the party of undermining the spirit and purpose of Parliament.

“They are changing Parliament from what it is, they are changing the understanding of what democracy is all about,” said Zuma.

“Democracy is not about angry young people. Democracy is about debating what we need to do for our country. If you don’t respect your colleagues or your own voters it means they don’t understand why they are in Parliament,” said Zuma.

The State of The Nation Address(SONA) has in recent years been the setting of chaos and disruption in Parliament.

Shortly after the President began his speech on Thursday night, EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu began a strategy of filibustering. Shivambu, who was later supported by party leader Julius Malema, alleged that 21 SAPS members had joined the Parliamentary Protection Services.

The EFF also made accusations that Parliamentary Protection Services had injections which they were going to use to inject EFF members.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete responded saying that the “house cannot work on the basis of hearsay.”

Mbete later warned Malema that she would ask him to leave peacefully if he did not cooperate after he stood again but he however refused.

Members of the Parliamentary Protection Services moved in and forcibly removed the EFF members, some of whom lashed out at security staff with their hard hats.

Last year the opening of Parliament was also marred by attempts by the EFF to cause a disruption.

-TNA Reporter