EFF causes mayhem in Parliament

Cape Town - National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete was forced to suspend a sitting of the National Assembly on Thursday as a question session to President Jacob Zuma descended into chaos.

“Pay back the money,” parliamentarians from the Economic Freedom Fighters, dressed in their red overalls and uniform, chanted shortly after asking when Zuma would submit his reply to the public protector’s report on the security upgrades to his Nkandla home.

Zuma replied that he had already submitted his reply last week, but EFF MPs said that wasn’t sufficient.

“It is the government that decides [who pays for the upgrades and how much] and the matter is referred to people who are legally authorised to make that determination,” the president said.

ANC and EFF MPs started bickering about points of order after EFF MPs heckled Zuma.

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu insisted that Zuma answer the party’s question when Mbete tried to give United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa a turn to ask a question.

Shivambu kept on heckling, with Mbete threatening to throw him out if he did not sit down.

EFF MPs refused to leave the chamber and kept on chanting “pay back the money” while ANC MPs sang Mshini Wami.

Mbete called security and asked MPs to “vacate” the chamber so that Parliament could “deal with this matter”.

Zuma, who was at one point seen repeatedly flicking his tongue over his lips, left before Mbete ordered MPs to leave the chamber.

Broadcasting of the sitting on the Parliamentary Channel and on SABC channels was also suspended, and parliamentary reporters tweeted that they were being ordered to leave the press gallery as EFF MPs were being removed from the chamber.