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'Broken' Zuma targeted in Parliamentary debate

The president came under scathing attack by opposition MPs during the Sona debate in Parliament yesterday.

President Jacob Zuma in Parliament during the Sona debate on 17 February 2015. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma and his government have come under scathing attack in Parliament, with opposition parties accusing him of breaking democratic institutions and using force to silence opponents.

The debate on Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona) got off to a tense start on Tuesday after opposition parties slammed the minutes of last Thursday's chaotic proceedings as inaccurate and incomplete.

The minutes did not record the protest over the use of a cellphone signal jammer, the forcible removal by police of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Members of Parliament (MPs) and the ensuing walkout by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and other parties, which Thandi Modise, who chaired the debate promised would be fixed.

The president laughed when EFF MPs were removed last week and laughed again when accused of crushing democratic institutions and dissent.

The DA's Mmusi Maimane said, "You're willing to break this Parliament if it means escaping accountability for the wrongs you have done."

The DA Parliamentary leader didn't hold back as he took aim at Zuma.

"For you, honourable president, are not an honourable man. You are a broken man presiding over a broken society."

WATCH: Maimane: 'Mr President, you broke Parliament'

The EFF's Julius Malema lashed the African National Congress (ANC) for betraying the freedom charter and abandoning the poor.

"The ANC is committed to free market capitalism and will never control trade for the benefit of the people."

WATCH: Malema: Zuma, the 'hooligan' President

ANC MPs however defended Zuma, with Minister Pravin Gordhan appealing for unity.

"South Africa wants us to solve our problems by constructive dialogue"

The debate continues this afternoon.