South Africa’s EFF opposition walks out of Zuma’s state address – The Guardian

South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party have walked out of Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address in the latest attack on the embattled president.

In chaotic scenes in parliament, EFF lawmakers shouted down the speaker for more than an hour before obeying her order to either allow the president to deliver his address or to leave the chamber.

“Zuma is no longer a president that deserves the respect from anyone,” the EFF leader, Julius Malema, yelled as Zuma sat impassively at the podium.

“He has stolen from us, he has corrupted the economy of South Africa, he has made this country a joke and after that, he has laughed at us.”

The EFF lawmakers, dressed in their regular uniform of red workers’ overalls and red hard hats, then left the chamber.

Jacob Zuma, centre, was trying to give his state of the nation address in parliament when the EFF walked out.


Jacob Zuma, centre, was trying to give his state of the nation address in parliament when the EFF walked out. Photograph: EPA

The party, which supports land redistribution without compensation and nationalisation of mines, was formed by Malema, former leader of the ANC Youth League, in 2013 and has become an effective critic of Zuma’s government.

Its lawmakers had earlier vowed to disrupt the president’s address if he failed to explain his sacking of two finance ministers in one week in December, which sent the rand into freefall.

Once he got the chance to speak, Zuma acknowledged that the country’s economy was in trouble and pledged to implement “an effective turnaround plan” in partnership with the private sector.

This would include cutting wasteful government expenditure and getting rid of underperforming state-owned enterprises, he said.

Earlier, police fired stun grenades to disperse angry protesters outside parliament shortly before Zuma delivered his address.

Zuma faces moves in court, in parliament and on the streets to have him impeached or dumped by the ruling ANC.

Zuma has been accused to presiding over government corruption and using £17m of public money to upgrade his private home.

South Africa’s EFF opposition walks out of Zuma’s state address – The Guardian

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