Malema won’t ‘disrupt’ Sona, but merely ‘ask questions’

Julius Malema says it’s incorrect to say the EFF is planning to disrupt tonight's Sona.

Julius Malema, Commander in Chief of the South African political party Economic Freedom fighters (EFF), addresses a crowd of about 3,000 EFF supporters gathered during a rally to mark the partys first anniversary in Thokoza Park in Soweto on 26 July 2014. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says it's incorrect to say his party is planning to disrupt President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona) this evening.

The EFF leader and his Members of Parliament (MPs) have threatened to interrupt Sona in an attempt to get the president to pay back the money spent on his Nkandla home.

He says all they're going to do is ask Zuma questions.

"Because the president has gone AWOL and never reported to Parliament for the question and answer session and we do not trust that he will come back, this is an opportunity for us to ask him critical questions, get answers and get done with that part and then proceed with Sona."

Malema says unless Zuma announces immediately that he wants to deal with questions that he's received, the EFF is going to have to call order and ask the speaker to allow them to pose questions

"If he wants to shoot straight into the Sona, we're going to have to call order and ask the speaker to allow us to pose questions to him because in terms of the rules, he needs to start where he left off with the questions."

He says it would be unconstitutional for National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to say she won't allow it.

He says, "The MPs have a right to hold the executive accountable," adding that the president has avoided being accountable to Parliament.

"The speaker will actually be undermining the constitutional right of MPs to hold the executive accountable and we're not going to agree to that."

He says his party will insist on asking questions.

"It is our right and the president will have to answer us."

The EFF leader says Parliament will not descend into chaos.

"It can't descend into chaos in Parliament. We have to be robust and we have to persuade each other. You cannot be ruled out and then immediately you chicken out."

Malema also says Zuma has never respected the convention of answering questions in the National Assembly.

WATCH: Behind the scenes at Sona


Earlier this week, Eyewitness News confirmed Rhema Bible Church head Ray McCauley had been mediating behind the scenes between the African National Congress (ANC) and the EFF to stop Sona from being disrupted.

McCauley attempted to broker a peace deal, saying at the time that he believed they were very close to an agreement.

Malema says after his party's leadership met with the Rhema Bible Church head, McCauley and a delegation of religious leaders went to meet with the ANC leadership and that of Parliament.

He says they then met with the National Assembly speaker.

"The speaker made commitments that the president will appear twice after Sona and that all charges against the EFF would be dropped and we would allow Sona to proceed peacefully."

The EFF leader says, "They even put those things in writing and gave it to Pastor McCauley."

Malema says after the speaker asked for a few minutes to confirm with ANC, the ruling party rejected the deal.

LISTEN: EFF Leader Julius Malema ahead of Sona saying he won't 'disrupt' but merely 'ask questions' of Zuma.