EFF: Zuma must address Nkandla at Sona

Julius Malema says he’ll disrupt the Sona to demand that Zuma pay back the money spent on Nkandla.

FILE: EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are adamant that President Jacob Zuma must first answer questions on Nkandla before presenting his State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The EFF's determination to go against protocol has kept it in the media spotlight and the party could lose face by backing down.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says Zuma must be held accountable.

"The president must therefore, in our expectations, respond to the question of when is he going to pay back the money unduly spent on Nkandla? That is what we expect."

With a clash seemingly almost certain when Zuma takes to the podium on Thursday night, it will be up to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to manage the situation.

There is concern among some in the opposition benches that the theatrics will overshadow the important annual event.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says the EFF's timing is all wrong.

"This is the Sona, not the State of Nkandla Address."

Cope's Mosiuoa Lekota says anything can happen where the EFF is concerned.

"Those of us who are a bit older and a bit more mature have been restraining ourselves."

The United Democratic Movement's Bantu Holomisa says the speaker's handling of the situation will be crucial.

At the weekend it was revealed that Zuma would be directed by Mbete if EFF leader Julius Malema asks him a question during his Sona.

Malema has said he would disrupt the speech to demand that Zuma pay back the money spent by government on his home at Nkandla.

Zuma says it's up to Mbete to say whether a question is in the rules if Malema does stand up on Thursday night.

He also says the EFF said it would go to Parliament to misbehave and that's what it's done.

At the same time, Parliament has rejected claims of extra security measures being put in place in preparation for the upcoming Sona.

Weekend newspapers reported that Parliament took an unprecedented move by sending security staff for self-defence lessons.

Spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs says the allegations are sensational.

"There was nothing said about Parliamentary protection services officers going to training. That has absolutely nothing to do specifically with the Sona but has everything to do with their duty and responsibility as protection officers."