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EFF calls on Zuma to 'pay back the money'

EFF members became increasingly raucous before Baleka Mbete ordered the session to be suspended.

Policemen break up a scuffle between EFF MPs and ANC members at Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday, 21 August 2014. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - It's been a dramatic day in the National Assembly that's seen tempers flare over the Nkandla scandal, President Jacob Zuma walk out of the chamber and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) demand he "pay back the money".

EFF leader Julius Malema asked Zuma directly when he would pay back the money spent on upgrading his KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

"When are you paying the money because the public protector has instructed you to pay the money? We want the date," Malema asked.

"Point of order," an ANC Member of Parliament (MP) interrupted.

"This thing of point of order is what you [Zuma] hide behind, because every time a report is brought you say point of order," Malema said.

Zuma responded that the Nkandla issue had been dealt with.

But this didn't sit well with the opposition party.

Malema then had a shouting match with National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.

"Why are we being thrown out? Nkandla money must be paid," said an EFF MP.

"I'm calling security and suspending the house for a few minutes," Mbete said.

However, Malema refused to go and supporters continued to chant.

EFF members, most dressed in their trademark red overalls and hard hats, became increasingly raucous before Mbete ordered the session to be suspended.

Riot police were then called in and placed on standby as the EFF members refused to leave the chamber.

The Nkandla upgrades came under heavy criticism in a report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in March.

Madonsela's report said Zuma had "benefited unduly" from some of the upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, and should pay back some of the costs of the unnecessary renovations.

Zuma submitted to Parliament his response to Madonsela and other reports on the Nkandla upgrades last week and a multi-party committee of the National Assembly has been set up to carry out a further review.

RIOT POLICE CALLED IN

Police were forced to intervene as EFF members began attacking the ANC's Bram Hanekom.

Hanekom was embroiled in a tussle with some EFF members outside Parliament.

The ANC member tried to stop EFF supporters from moving back towards the doors of Parliament.

Police then intervened and took Hanekom away.

Meanwhile, MPs were eventually led back into the chamber where the speaker announced an adjournment of the sitting.

Mbete says another time will have to be arranged for the president to resume answering questions.

"South Africa knows that Zuma was here to perform his constitutional duty."

Malema meanwhile says the chaos that erupted in the National Assembly is the result of the president's refusal to answer questions about Nkandla.

He says it cannot be business as usual when such matters are not addressed in Parliament.

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