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Parliament condemns EFF's actions

Parliament must now consider what sanctions to impose on the EFF.

EFF leader Julius Malema (L) exchanges words with ANC Youth League national task team member Braam Hanekom (R) on Thursday, 21 August 2014. Picture: Sapa

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's presiding officers are to weigh up how to censure the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) after President Jacob Zuma's question time came to an abrupt and rowdy end in the National Assembly yesterday.

EFF members staged a sit in yesterday, after Speaker Baleka Mbete suspended proceedings and called security to eject them after they started chanting "Pay Back the Money" at Zuma, who's been directed by the Public Protector to refund a portion of the millions spent upgrading his Nkandla home.

"When are you paying the money because the Public rotector 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.

The opposition party effectively routed the president from Parliament in a day that will go down in history.

Accused by the African National Congress (ANC) of anarchy, Malema was unrepentant.

"When we addressed the rallies we said we promised the voters to get answers on Nkandla."

Mbete slammed the red berets.

Parliament must now consider what sanctions to impose on the EFF, while Malema's pledged to keep up the fight until Zuma is held accountable.

QUESTIONS RAISED OVER EFFECTIVENESS OF EFF'S STANCE

As the dust cleared over yesterday's chaos in Parliament, questions are now being asked about why the EFF decided to refuse to leave the National Assembly and whether it will have any impact on the president.

Riot police were called in after the EFF leader and his members refused to vacate the house.

The Institute for Security Studies' Judith February says Malema was making a political point by demanding the president repay the money spent on Nkandla.

"I dare say that the EFF leader was speaking on behalf of many people when they chanted 'pay back the money'."

But Unisa's professor Somadoda Fikeni says our politics may have reached a tipping point regarding perceptions of Parliament.

"What has been happening in Parliament since the beginning of this term has a risk of bringing Parliament into disrepute."

But he says this could play well with the constituency Malema represents.

OPPOSITION PARTIES PRAISE EFF

Congress of the People (Cope) president Mosiuoa Lekota's praised the EFF for what's described as their courageous stance.

"Not all of us had the temerity to act with such forthrightness so we must pay tribute to that."

Lekota says the EFF are not the problem.

"The anarchists aren't the ones with red overalls. They are the ones who are in power to uphold the law of this land."

The Cope leader says Zuma's undermining the Constitution by not complying with the Public Protector's report on Nkandla.

"The president must tell the nation he upholds the constitution and will uphold what the Public Protector said must be done and I will pay."

Furthermore, the Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane says he's concerned about the person at the helm of controlling the National Assembly.

Maimane had some harsh words for Mbete yesterday after Parliamentary proceedings had to be suspended.

"I think her biggest challenge as the speaker is whether or not she'll choose South Africa or the ANC and in this instance she'll chose the ruling party like she did today."

Maimane added all the madness could've been avoided if Mbete handled the situation correctly.

Video: EFF disrupts Parliament.

Meanwhile, The ANC says the National Assembly must take strong against the EFF accusing the party of "bringing the country and Parliament into disrepute."

The ruling party's Zizi Kodwa says the manner in which the EFF is conducting themselves is unacceptable.

"The violent nature in which EFF MPs engaged the issue takes the country back and reminds us of political intolerance. Parliament must make sure they are sanctioned."

Pictures by EWN and Sapa.

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