ANC member suspended for interrupting Zille’s Sopa

Pierre Uys was asked to leave the Western Cape Legislature after a unanimous vote.

Helen Zille is seen leaving the Western Cape Legislature on 20 February 2015. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - An African National Congress (ANC) member of the Western Cape Legislature and the party's chief whip in the province has been suspended for two days.

Pierre Uys was asked to leave the house by the speaker on Friday afternoon after he interjected with a point of order moments before Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was due to deliver her eighth State of the Province Address (Sopa).

The premier only managed to deliver extracts of her speech at a special media briefing, which was called after proceedings were suspended several times. The document has since been tabled.

Uys was suspended from the house for two days after a unanimous vote by Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs).

He was requesting a ruling on a statement made in the house last year, where the ruling party criticised the Legislature for apparently changing its mind on how to deal with an alleged racist comment made by Zille in December.

Initially, the matter was to be referred to a judge president for review but it was then decided to refer it to the Legislature's rules committee.

The ANC says what happened on Friday was a great shame because it was the first time in South African history that a premier wasn't allowed to deliver a Sopa.

Zille was expected to focus on pressing issues, including service delivery and housing.

Meanwhile, Uys has described his two day suspension from the house as unfair and unnecessary.

He said he refused to apologise for what happened.

"They very clearly decided the chief whip of the ANC has got a very strong point, let' try and suspend him. This is their way of getting rid of their opponents."