S.African opposition party walk out of Zuma's state address

11th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party walked out of President Jacob Zuma's state of the nation address Thursday after repeatedly interrupting his speech in chaotic parliamentary scenes.

For more than one hour, EFF lawmakers shouted down the Speaker 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," EFF leader Julius Malema yelled as Zuma sat impassive 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.

"We are doing what we are doing because we do not recognise him as our president. He is not our president."

The EFF lawmakers, dressed in their regular uniform of red overalls and red builders' hats, then left the chamber.

The EFF had earlier vowed to disrupt Zuma's address if he failed to explain his sacking of two finance ministers in one week in December, which sent South Africa's rand currency into free fall.

Similar tactics used by the party at last year's state of the nation address led to the lawmakers being violently ejected by security guards.

"This sitting is convened to enable the president to deliver this state of the nation address," Speaker Baleka Mbete told the chamber when Zuma's speech was disrupted immediately after he began.

"If you do not take your seat, we have no option but to ask you to leave," she said. "I have been very patient with you."

© 2016 AFP

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