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‘Police preparing to manhandle EFF members at Sona’

The EFF plans to ask the president when he intends repaying the Nkandla money.

FILE: Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - With just hours to go until the State of the Nation Address (Sona), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) claim police are preparing to manhandle their members if they ask questions during tonight's speech.

The EFF says it wants President Jacob Zuma to answer the question "When will he pay back the money?" spent by government on his home at Nkandla.

Security at the Parliamentary compound is a top priority this year given the EFF's threats.

Zuma is due to start speaking at seven this evening.

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says he is aware of Parliament's plans to crack down on them.

"We are told these riot police have a secret dungeon, which has a tunnel that leads to Tuynhuys. You will then be physically taken right beneath the foundations of this house and taken to Tuynhuys and we don't know what will happen to you. That's what we've been reliably told."

But he says they won't back down.

"We are not called fighters for nothing. We are not going to allow anybody to violate our rights."

Parliament's presiding officers have previously refused to comment on whether riot police would be called in to the chamber to deal with disruptive MPs.

But ANC chief Whip Stone Sizani says if the EFF makes good on its promise to interrupt the president, it deserves whatever repercussions follow.

"This one is the highest decision making place to make laws here. If you disrupt it, you deserve to be thrown in the cell."

He says the EFF's "pay back the money campaign" is motivated by hatred.

A Sona sniper spotter and the sniper's head visible on the spotter's left hand side, on top of the Parliamentary building. Picture: Stephen van Niekerk.

POLITICAL SIDESHOW TRANSPIRES

A major political sideshow has developed around the EFF.

The party's Commissar for Land,

" target="_blank">Andile Mngxitama, was manhandled by a faction loyal to EFF leader Julius Malema and chased from a Cape Town hotel earlier today.

Mngxitama had called a press conference at the hotel, but the EFF members pounced on him and chased him from the venue before he could explain what it was about.

The EFF members also lashed Mgxitama for trying to hold the press conference.

While Mbuysini Ndlozi also said they hope he'll join them for tonight's Sona, it's being reported that Mngxitama and fellow MP Khanyi Litchefield Tshabalala are now too afraid to do so.

The drama has underscored internal divisions within the party.

Malema wants to put Zuma on the spot over Nkandla tonight, but, without the full backing of his caucus, he could be exposing himself and his party to embarrassing scenes on national television.

WATCH: Behind the scenes at Sona

Sona 2015 by numbers

For the latest on the State of the Nation Address, follow EWN's Sona live blog.

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